BAR HARBOR — Life as usual on Mount Desert Island ground to a halt on Tuesday as most folks heeded official requests to stay off the roads during what was being billed as the Blizzard of 2015.
All island schools, including College of the Atlantic, as well as local banks, town offices, libraries, the MDI YMCA and many businesses were shuttered. Non-essential employees at Mount Desert Island Hospital were directed not to report for work. Gov. Paul LePage declared a state of emergency and closed all state offices.
Although all roads remained open, the Maine Department of Transportation shut down the state ferry service, cancelling all runs and closing terminals on Tuesday.
Island schools remained closed on Wednesday to allow crews to clean up as the snow continued into mid-morning.
Coastal areas were the hardest hit Down East with wind gusts of more than 40 miles per hour. More than a foot of snow fell by dawn Wednesday although blowing and drifting made it difficult to measure. The high temperature for the day hovered around 10 degrees, pushing the wind chill to minus 15.
Police around Mount Desert Island reported only minor incidents involving cars sliding off roadways. No serious damage or injuries were reported. “Just the usual kind of snow storm stuff,” said Lt. Jim Pinkham of the Bar Harbor Police.
During the height of the storm, downtown areas in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor looked like ghost towns with no moving cars or people on foot. Only scattered power outages were reported.
The National Weather Service forecast for the Mount Desert Island area calls for more snow on Friday into Saturday, with the potential for as much as seven inches of new snow on Monday.