TV5′s Chris Ewing reflects on Ice Storm of ‘98
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - As snow blankets the state of Maine today, 24 years ago this weekend it was ice.
We spoke with former TV5 Meteorologist Chris Ewing about forecasting and making it through the Ice Storm of ‘98.
“Knew that there was going to be a serious ice storm,” said Ewing.
He says they could see it coming two or three days out.
“But, for it to last basically five straight days of mixed you know, sleet, freezing rain, and up north sleet, freezing rain and snow, just you know, it’s almost impossible to think that it’s going to go that long, but it did. I mean, it was pretty much unprecedented,” he recalled.
Power out for hundreds of thousands of Mainers.
“Remember coming home briefly to check on my wife and son because we only lived a few miles away, and I thought, my gosh, is there lightning going on,” he said. “And it was literally the transformers blowing, you know, by being hit by trees and blowing up and lighting up the sky several times.”
Chris says he and fellow meteorologist Jeff Matthews worked around the clock trying to get the information out to people.
“Problem was that so many people were without power that you’re broadcasting to probably half the audience that you normally would be broadcasting to because so many people were without power I think at one point in time, probably over two thirds of Northern, Eastern, and Central Maine were without power, lasted in some cases for weeks,” he said.
Ewing says people that endured that storm will never forget it.
“Yeah, I would say it’s really maybe the the biggest event as far as a meteorological event that I ever forecast, and I forecasted a couple hurricanes. I forecasted lots of blizzards, and you know some major blizzards, but the impact that storm had on the state of Maine and northern New Hampshire and Vermont up into Quebec was just astronomical, how big it was, how many people in impacted, the cost of it. The lives lost. It really probably has to be the number one meteorological event ever as far as my forecasting goes.”
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