DRESDEN, Maine (NECN) -- Maine is in the grips of a three day ice storm that has left more than 80,000 people in the dark, mostly in central and downeast Maine.
Emergency responders and the two major power companies, Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro, had planned for the worst on Sunday...but conditions actually worsened throughout the day Monday.
"I don't think anyone let their guard down, but I think we thought Monday would be the better day, so this is a setback," said CMP Spokesman John Carroll.
Unlike a blizzard or a Nor'easter that unleashes its fury all at once, an ice storm does damage more slowly, but just as surely.
"The mist and light rain just slowly add on the weight," said Sam Webber, CMP Lineman. "The pine branches and the hard wood can't take it. They fall over."
That's what brought a fleet of CMP trucks out to route 27 in Dresden.
A downed tree took out six sections of wire and a utility pole.
And that was enough to put Dresden in the dark.
By midmorning generators were humming all over the state as
power outages climbed..
"I got the generator going and then my heater's on a flexible line," said winter storm veteran Larry Campagna. Still, he and his neighbors hoped they wouldn't have to rely on generators and wood stoves for too long.
Over at the Meetinghouse Market in Dresden, the staff was tallying purchases on a calculator and keeping coffee warm on the wood stove.
"It works fine until someone hands us a credit card," said Patty Stewart.
For the storm to loosen its grip, Maine needs a sunny day with above freezing temperatures.
Only half that wish will come true Tuesday. The sun will shine, but the mercury isn't expected to rise above freezing. And that means some line workers are likely to spend Christmas Eve in a bucket truck.