- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A winter storm buried northern New England with heavy snow and sleet that sent cars sliding Wednesday and created a scary moment when a man slipped and fell into Portland Harbor.

There were no reports of serious highway crashes, but firefighters scrambled to rescue a man who slipped off a gangway between a pier and a boat in Portland. The man was hospitalized for exposure after firefighters used ladders to reach him and pluck him from the icy water.

Far northern Maine was getting the worst of it with strong wind gusts that limited visibility, along with the prospect of more than 1 foot (30 centimeters) of snow.

Before the storm, Caribou, Maine, was already more than 45 inches (114 centimeters) ahead of normal for snowfall for the season, with more than 115 inches (292 centimeters) of snow having been recorded.

“Let it keep coming. We’re going to break some records,” said Phil McDonough, who works at a hardware store where there were numerous sales of snow shovels, snow scoops and roof rakes.

Southern New England was spared from the worst of the snowstorm, which arrived Tuesday afternoon.

In northern New England, there were varying levels of snow from 4 to 9 inches (10 to 23 centimeters) across much of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Parts of Aroostook County are expected to get 15 inches (38 centimeters).

The near-whiteout conditions and blowing snow in Maine’s Aroostook County were bad enough for Gov. Janet Mills to close state offices for the day.

Hundreds of schools and businesses either closed or delayed their openings. In New Hampshire, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat eyeing a run for president, canceled an appearance in Londonderry because of the weather.

In Vermont, the blowing snow temporarily delayed the search for an ice fisherman who went missing.

Searchers found the man’s truck Tuesday in 22 feet (7 meters) of water after it crashed through ice on Lake Champlain, but the fisherman was not inside. The search continued Wednesday when weather conditions improved.

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