AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Start talking with anyone who was living in Maine during the epic ice storm of 1998 and you'll soon be swapping stories. Where were you? How long were you without power? How'd you make out?
The ice storm was a natural disaster that unfolded in slow motion, as drop upon drop of freezing rain fell for some 50 hours. The first hint of trouble came on January 6 when forecasters warned of possible heavy icing. Two days later, Central Maine Power broke a record when it received 200,000 calls reporting power outages.
On January 9, more than half of Mainers were in the cold and dark, and still the ice kept building up. “Everybody is working as hard as they possibly can,” said then-Governor Angus King. “But the trouble is the storm keeps going on.”
The damage was immense. CMP crews alone had to replace more than 3,000 utility poles and 2,000 transformers. There was no counting the trees and branches that fell, often sounding like gunshots as they came crashing down. On January 14, as the weather turned windy and bitterly cold, more than 100,000 customers were still without power.
As the days dragged on, line and tree crews kept working, nearly 1,000 of them at one point. Finally, on Friday, January 30 — a remarkable 23 days after the first outages were reported — CMP restored power to its last year-round customers. The ice storm was over. How'd you make out?