Portland, Maine – Joke’s On New England With April Fools’ Snowstorm


    The tail lights of a car traveling down a road during a spring snowstorm leave a light trail in this 30-second time exposure in Freeport, Maine, Friday, April 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)Portland, Maine – An April Fools’ storm brought heavy snowfall to parts of New England on Friday, creating a late-season winter wonderland and giving thousands of kids a reprieve from school while causing agony for others with power outages and cars sliding off roads.

    The spring Nor’easter was expected to last through the day Friday — April Fools’ Day — dropping up to a foot of snow around parts of northern New England, a bitter prank on residents eager for spring after a long, snow-filled winter.

    Across coastal Maine and New Hampshire, heavy wet snow covered road signs, blanketed the pavement and clung to trees, which drooped under the weight.

    By late morning, falling tree limbs knocked out electricity for 30,000 homes and businesses in southern Maine and New Hampshire, officials said. Scores of cars and trucks slid off roads, but there were no reports of serious injuries.

    In Portland, Maine, Pete Johnson was caught by surprise by the intensity of the storm. He didn’t believe the weather forecasters, especially after a relatively snow-free March. So, he took off his snow tires.

    He said he should’ve known better.

    “If you’ve done this long enough, you know it’s going to snow again,” he said, grabbing a cup of coffee before making a slippery drive to Boston for a business meeting.

    The city of Portland wasn’t fooled, though. Some towns removed the plow blades from their trucks, but Portland workers left them on. All 40 plow trucks were out Friday morning.

    “We know better,” said spokeswoman Nicole Clegg. “We’re still in winter storm operations.”

    Elsewhere in the Northeast, it has turned out to be more wet than white.
    Motorists make their way north during a spring snowstorm on Interstate 295 in Freeport, Maine, Friday, April 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
    National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Montgomery said the storm tracked farther east than some models predicted. That meant the region’s the most heavily populated parts of the region were spared from heavy snow.

    In Boston, forecasts called for between 2 and 4 inches, with the precipitation tapering off in the afternoon. Coastal parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut were expected to get mostly rain, or wet snow that won’t accumulate.

    In parts of New York and New Jersey, the storm sputtered. A few inches of wet snow was forecast for sections of upstate New York, while the Catskills were likely to get up to 6 inches of snow. New York City and Long Island dealt with morning rain.

    Inland, 3 to 8 inches were expected in northeastern Massachusetts and northern areas of Rhode Island and Connecticut. Western Massachusetts could get up to 10 inches or foot.

    In northern New England, the snowfall dramatically changed the landscape after a relatively snow-free March.
    A motorist passes a sign urging drivers to reduce their speed to 45 mph during heavy snow fall on Interstate 295 in Freeport, Maine on Friday, April 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
    In Concord, N.H., the parks and recreation department was boasting a week ago about getting its tennis courts ready for spring. On Friday, it switched gears, challenging followers of its Facebook page to submit pictures of snowmen in the parks.

    “Old man winter is not giving up without a fight this year,” department director David Gill said Friday.

    Skiers weren’t complaining.

    The extra shot of snow could mean a longer ski season for resorts.

    John Olif, 23, of Killington, Vt., had made three runs down the mountain by 9:30 a.m. Friday and was tickled.

    “Last year at this time, everything was melting. But it’s mid-February out here pretty much. It’s definitely a treat,” he said. “It’s 100 percent open and it’s April 1. It’s a powder day on April Fools’, not a joke or anything.”

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