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Rare blizzard to wallop northern New England

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 8, 2013 at 8:08 pm •  Published: February 8, 2013

A winter storm contributed to a 19-car pileup, caused travel woes, and forced schools and businesses to close Friday as snowfall and wind continued to build, prompting a rare blizzard warning for coastal Maine and New Hampshire.

The warning, the first in the two states since late 2010, was in effect Friday night and Saturday morning and was accompanied by a coastal flood warning.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency Friday evening to allow for the mobilization of additional resources but stopped short of ordering everyone off the roads.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage declared a limited emergency to allow longer hours for utility crews in the event of power outages caused by high winds.

Across the region, the storm brought misery to travelers with disruptions to air travel, bus service, and Amtrak's Downeaster and Vermonter trains. Hundreds of schools and businesses closed for the day.

By the time the storm exits, coastal Maine and New Hampshire were expected to be visited by 50 mph gusts and covered in up to 2 feet of snow.

As the storm began, police were dealing with scores of cars sliding off the roads. Outside Portland, a car spun out Friday morning on Interstate 295 in Cumberland, leading to a 19-car pileup that took four hours to clear. One person was taken to the hospital with injuries that weren't life-threatening, police said.

For some, the winter storm was too much of a good thing.

In New Hampshire, Wildcat Mountain had to cancel the University of Connecticut's Skiing Carnival because of the snowstorm. In Maine, the National Toboggan Championships in Camden were postponed from Saturday to Sunday, and Camp Sunshine's Maine Polar Dip was postponed until March.

The postponement of Saturday's events at the National Toboggan Championships was a disappointment, but competitors took it in stride.

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