Twenty years ago, a massive winter storm system tormented Maine for days, turning much of the state into a thick, gigantic icicle. As power lines snapped under the weight of the ice, a half million Mainers were plunged into darkness. Many found themselves without light and heat for as long as three weeks. The entire state was a disaster area. And President Bill Clinton eventually declared it one.
Freezing rain began on Jan. 5, a Monday, and continued for three days. By Jan. 6, the icing was already severe.
If you were in Maine for the Ice Storm of ‘98, you remember.
Kids were out of school for two weeks after their Christmas break was supposed to have ended. Thousands of people were forced to take refuge in emergency shelters. Hospitals were crowded with people needing treatment for hypothermia, falls and carbon monoxide poisoning.
At least five Mainers died because of the storm, including two men who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, one who was struck in the head by a falling tree, one who died of hypothermia after falling down the stairs of his dark, cold house and one who was killed when the roof of a gas station island collapsed under the weight of ice. The Maine Emergency Management Agency indicates that six people were killed in Maine because of the storm, but did not specify how the sixth person died.