News Feature

The Island
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 2, 2014
Island fares better than mainland during ice storm

Ice storm 2013 on Deer Isle

Snow and ice from the past weekend’s ice storm slowed travel on Monday, December 23. Conditions were far worse off-island where many people experienced power outages for days on end, including through the Christmas holiday.
Click here to view a slideshow of the ice storm.

Photo by Jessica Brophy Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Jessica Brophy

The ice storm that brought power outages lasting more than a week to some mainland communities—including Blue Hill, Penobscot, Brooksville and Brooklin—caused some travel and power disruptions on the island, but on a smaller scale.

The storm began during the late evening hours of Saturday, December 21 and lasted through most of the day Monday, December 23.

Stonington town manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris said Stonington “fared a lot better than across the bridge,” though the town is still tallying how much overtime and equipment costs went into the ice event.

“It seems like it’s taking its toll on the salt pile, and it looks like more of the same for the week ahead,” said Billings-Pezaris, referring to early forecasts of another winter storm due in the area Thursday or Friday.

Deer Isle’s third selectman, Lew Ellis, said the town hasn’t “experienced what they did off-island, but payrolls have been high so we know they’ve been out there,” speaking of Road Commissioner Paul Gray and crew.

“The bitter cold is what gets us,” says Billings-Pezaris. “The road treatments aren’t effective when it gets down so cold.”

Breakdowns have been minimal, but the road crew’s efforts have meant long hours and overtime. “It’s costing us money, for sure,” said Billings-Pezaris. “But this is why we keep the winter budget steady. Some years you don’t use it all, some years you do.”

During peak outages on Christmas Eve Day, Bangor Hydro Electric had more than 15,000 customers without power in Hancock County. The Penobscot Narrows Bridge was closed on Sunday, December 29, and remained closed for more than a day due to falling ice that damaged several vehicles.