LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) - Snow was falling Thursday morning in places still hustling to get power back on after a weekend ice storm that turned out the lights from Michigan to Maine and into Canada.
Southeast and parts of interior Maine that have been without electricity since Sunday were anticipating from 3 to 7 inches of snow by the time the latest system pushes off the coast Thursday night. Utilities worried that the additional weight on branches and transmission lines could cause setbacks in the around-the-clock efforts to restore power.
"We don't think it's going to help us much, that's for sure," said Susan Faloon, a spokeswoman for Bangor Hydro Electric in Maine. "There was some concern expressed over the last couple of days about that storm coming because obviously we still have lot of stuff weighing down trees and lines.
Weighted down with ice, trees slump along state Route 9N in Jay on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. Sunday’s ice storm still lingers in some places, like Jay, while in the Tri-Lakes area it got warm enough Sunday evening to melt the ice on trees.
(Photo — Martha Allen)
"The system is pretty compromised out there," she said. "We expect we will have more outages."
In Michigan, where about half a million people lost power at the peak of the weekend storm, an inch or so of snow was expected. Utilities there reported 105,000 customers without power Thursday morning, while those in Maine reported more than 36,000. There were more than 101,000 without power in three Canadian provinces - Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick - including 54,000 in the city of Toronto.
Bangor Hydro Electric is advising people it will be the end of the day Friday before its more than 11,000 customers are back on line. The number has fluctuated as some people get power back while others lose it.
Central Maine Power, with more than 24,000 customers still without power early Thursday, hoped to get electricity back for most by the end of the day but acknowledged that some will still be without electricity on Friday. More than 100,000 were without power at the storm's peak.
In the snow country of New York's Tug Hill Plateau, east of Lake Ontario, 11 to 17 inches of wind-whipped lake effect snow was expected to fall by the end of the day Friday. The ice storm knocked out electricity for about 50,000 customers in northern New York; all but a handful had power back by Thursday.
Ashley Walter, 27, was hunkered down Wednesday with her husband, Jacob, and their month-old daughter, Leah, at a shelter set up in a school in Litchfield, Maine. The family lost power Saturday, got it back temporarily, then lost it again Sunday.
Despite the challenge of being out of the house, especially at Christmas, the family was staying positive.
"It's definitely kind of strange but we're hanging in there," Ashley Walter said Wednesday. "We did our Christmas together last night. I packed little stockings and gave them to my husband, sisters and my daughter."
In Michigan, CMS Energy Corp. said some of its nearly 90,000 customers still offline may have to wait until Saturday to get power back.
With no electricity at their home, Jill Ghantous and her family from Swartz Creek, Mich., opened their Christmas presents at a hotel in Genesee County's Grand Blanc Township, southeast of Flint.
The family members took the Christmas stockings from their home and hung them from a dresser in the hotel room. They also bought a small tree for the room, said Ghantous, whose children are 10 and 6.
"I guess we can kind of pull Christmas out of nothing," Ghantous told MLive.com. "You just get resourceful and try to make it the best you can."
Authorities blame the storm for 27 deaths; 17 in the U.S. and 10 in Canada, including five who apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Associated Press writers David Goodman in Detroit and Rik Stevens in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.