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Snow prompts school, govt closings in northern New England

March 4, 2019

A powerful winter storm dumped a foot of snow on parts of northern New England, prompting school closings, highway crashes and the closing of some state offices in Maine. Five people were hurt when a United Express flight slid off a runway in northern Maine.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills shut down state offices in Hancock and Washington counties, where coastal areas were buried under a foot of snow.

To the north, the plane slid off the runway at Presque Isle International Airport as snow reduced visibility and created slippery conditions.

The pilot and five passengers suffered minor injuries, and the plane was damaged, said Kimberly Smith, spokeswoman for the city of Presque Isle.

In Rochester, New Hampshire, a propane truck jackknifed on the Spaulding Turnpike, causing delays. Police pulled some truck drivers aside on highways and told them to clear snow and ice off of the top of their vehicles in accordance with Jessica’s Law.

The 2002 law is named for Jessica Smith, who was killed when ice from a tractor-trailer hit a box truck that ended up hitting her car.

Hundreds of schools were closed Monday in Maine and New Hampshire. That meant many schoolchildren who enjoyed winter break last week in New Hampshire got an extra day on Monday.

Utility crews were dealing with scattered power outages.

In northern Maine, the airport mishap was under investigation.

The pilot aborted the first landing attempt and requested that the runway lights be turned on due to low visibility before the second attempt at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Smith said.

Officials said the CommutAir-operated flight from Newark, New Jersey, had 28 passengers and three crew members. Part of the landing gear was torn away and the nose cone was damaged.