Maine’s Biggest Christmas Snowstorm Ever Turned the State Into a Winter Wonderland

Written by Lisa Bohler
Published: December 6, 2023
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The biggest winter snowstorm to hit Maine happ3ened in 1966

During this Maine blizzard, the temperatures plummeted while snow fell heavily.

©Allan Wood Photography/

The biggest Christmas snowstorm in Maine occurred in 1966. Residents look forward to a white Christmas, which means there is at least one inch of snow on the ground. With a white Christmas, children can go outside and play with their new winter toys while adults huddle by the fire and drink hot chocolate.

The Nor’easter that came hurling at Maine on December 23, 1966, did not leave residents with a white Christmas; it left residents dealing with snow accumulations of 20 to 30″. High winds were one of the biggest problems during this blizzard. Wind speeds of 70 mph were felt in gusts. Sustained wind speeds of 30 to 40 mph continued throughout the day.

This was not a typical snowstorm. Lightning and thunder came along with the heaviest of the bands. Close to the coast of Maine, there was less snow accumulation. However, the temperatures were freezing or below, so instead of snow, the coastal areas had freezing rain, sleet, and ice accumulations.

A suburban neighborhood blanketed in thick snow due to polar vortex

During snowstorms, neighborhoods are blanketed with snow and left isolated.


The biggest Christmas snowstorm left residents unable to leave their homes. Many residents had no source of heat because the electricity was interrupted. Streets were impassable, especially in smaller communities and rural areas.

The fast-falling snow and howling winds were concerning during the day. At 5 p.m., the snow increased, and from then until midnight, many areas received 4″ of snow per hour. The nighttime snow bands were the ones that had the accompaniment of thunder and lightning. Residents of Maine sat in their homes, huddled under blankets, and listened to the strong winds while watching flashes of lightning illuminate the night sky. It was a long, scary night in Maine. Not even Rudolp’s blinking red beacon of a nose could clear a path for Santa’s sleigh.

Winter Wonderland Conditions Created By The Storm

Full moon over winter deep forest covered with snow on winter night with many stars in sky. Landscape of winter wonderland nature concept


With a snowstorm, there is ice, sleet, and freezing rain combined with the cold winds and white powdery snow. During the blizzard of 1966, all of these winter elements joined together to create winter wonderland conditions that stretched from coastal Virginia into Maine.

The ice and snow appeared beautiful during their first few hours. However, after 12 to 14 hours, the winter wonderland created by the biggest Christmas snowstorm becomes a nightmare of downed power lines, interrupted telephone services, and more.

Winter Wonderlands Turn Into Living Nightmares When

  • Ice accumulates on power lines, and the weight causes the lines and poles holding the lines up to break. It can take days or weeks to restore power to all areas.
  • Without electricity, many people have no heat for their homes or no way to prepare food.
  • Snow and ice accumulate on the rooftops of homes and businesses, and the weight causes the roof to collapse.
  • Stores close their doors. People need supplies; however, the shopkeepers close, and supplies are not available.
  • In medical emergencies, people wait longer than average for assistance. In the event of deep snow, ambulances and first responders are kept away from the people who need their help.
  • It is Christmas Eve, and you have children waiting to receive a visit from Santa.
  • Going outside means needing to tie a rope to your front door so you can find your way back inside when you complete what you need to do.
  • When you sit and listen to the pipes bursting up your walls and under your house.

The people of Maine were ill-prepared for the biggest Christmas snowstorm. Maine receives the majority of its snowfall in January and February. People put off buying extra wood or heating oil until after Christmas when their money is not as tight.

Blizzard Survival Tips

a collection of generic labelled food tins or cans, tomatoes, beans, tuna and soup isolated on white

Keep canned food on hand in case of power outages.


There will be times when the weather gives you surprises, like severe thunderstorms or blizzard conditions. The best way to survive these events is to prepare as much as you can ahead of time and stay prepared.

  • Prepare when the weather is good, and do not wait until the storm hits.
  • Stay at home and off the roads.
  • Have a medical emergency bag and first aid kit prepared. Keep bandages, medicines you take daily, over-the-counter pain relief, antibiotic ointment, scissors, and medical-grade gauze and tape in the kit. If you use the kit at any time, restock it immediately.
  • Keep warm blankets in the trunk of your car.
  • Canned food and non-perishable items should be kept in your pantry at all times. Also put some non-perishable food, enough for one day, in the trunk of your car.
  • Put an air horn in your car.
  • Flashlights with batteries should be in your car, and you should have several in your home.
  • Candles to use when the power goes out. Battery-operated candles are safer in homes that have small children
  • Have one gallon of water for each person in the house. One gallon is enough for one day..

The photo featured at the top of this post is © LanaG/

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About the Author

Lisa Bohler is a writer for A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Lisa has been writing and researching animals for over 12 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Creative Writing from Liberty University, which she earned in 2021. A resident of Texas, Lisa enjoys fishing, gardening, and caring for the animals on her small hobby farm.

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