It only seems like yesterday for the Mainers who were there during the ice storm of 1998, one of the worst natural disasters in Maine history.

Hundreds of thousands of Mainers were without power as a storm system parked over Maine for three days straight, dumping freezing rain that coated trees and power lines with over an inch of ice. Unable to bear the weight, trees and utility poles came crashing down. Eight people died due to storm-related incidents.

After driving through Portland on March 23, twenty-six years later, it felt like I had gone back in time to the ice storm of '98. Tree limbs were coated in thick layers of ice causing them to fall and take out power lines with them. Luckily, this one wasn't at the level of destruction that the storm of '98 was.

What caused the ice storm of 1998?

According to the National Weather Service, a strong El-Nino pattern was a big influence on weather patterns that winter. It caused the storm to hang over Maine for so long, that the ice accretion amounts and precipitation were significantly high, which caused tree limbs and entire trees to come crashing down on power lines and roads. Over half of the state was without power at the storm peak.

How long did the ice storm of 1998 last in Maine?

The actual weather event lasted from January 5th to 9th, but recovery efforts of getting the power back on and clearing fallen trees took weeks or even months in high-impact areas.

How much damage did the 1998 ice storm cause?

In Maine alone, the ice storm caused over $140 million in damages. Maine Governor Angus King and President Bill Clinton both declared Maine in a state of emergency to allow federal funds to help in the relief efforts. The overall cost of the damage in all states affected by the storm was $1.4 billion.

We've had hurricanes and blizzards in Maine, but nothing has compared in my lifetime to the ice storm of 1998.

Several Mainers recalled their memories of this epic storm on the MaineDOT Facebook page. Here are a few of them.

Where Were You? 25 Mainers Share Stories of the Ice Storm of 1998 on Its 25th Anniversary

On the MaineDOT Facebook page, several Mainers recalled their memories of this epic storm. Here are 25 of them.

Gallery Credit: Jeff Parsons

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