A winter storm that buried Maine’s largest city under record snowfall and lashed the region with high winds brought travel to a crawl, contributed to a fatal crash and prompted people to take to city streets in snowshoes and cross-country skis.
Portland recorded its largest snowfall in decades — 31.9 inches at the Portland International Jetport, surpassing the city’s previous record of 27.1 inches set in 1979, according to the National Weather Service in Maine, which classified the storm as a blizzard. And New Hampshire’s capital city recorded its second-biggest snowfall on record.
Gusts topping 50 mph caused whiteout conditions for motorists, and at least two plow trucks slid off the Maine Turnpike.
‘‘I felt like I was in a snow globe that someone kept shaking,’’ said Sam Napolitano, who was on a private snow removal crew Saturday in Portland. ‘‘It’s a humbling experience to see how much hard work this can be sometimes.’’
The storm was blamed for at least one death. A 74-year-old Jay woman died after the car she was riding in slid off a road in Vienna, Maine. Also, a 75-year-old man went missing in Passadumkeag, Maine, after driving out into the storm.
Most people seemed to heed officials’ warnings and stayed home, leaving highways largely empty and some cities looking like ghost towns. Others relished the fresh powder, which was welcomed by outdoors enthusiasts and skiers.
Steven Pavlik gave his snow blower a good workout Saturday morning in Concord, N.H., even though he didn’t have to go anywhere for the rest of the day.
‘‘Nope, just having fun with the snow blower,’’ Pavlik said. ‘‘It’s not unusual. We used to get these all the time so it’s nothing big.’’
At Carrabassett Valley in Maine, where 14 inches fell, skiers braved poor driving conditions to go skiing. Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin said that in some ways, a foot of snow in Boston was as good as a foot of snow at the resort.
‘‘When people see snow in their backyards, they come skiing,’’ Austin said.
In New Hampshire, the 24 inches of snow recorded in Concord was a few inches short of the reading from the blizzard of 1888, meteorologist Mike Kistner said.
A transportation spokesman said the storm-related high tide forced the closing of a section of U.S. Route 1A in Hampton, N.H. The tide caused minor flooding and street closings along the southern Maine coast, as well.
At the storm’s height, more than 15,000 homes and businesses lost power in Maine and New Hampshire, but utility workers were quickly bringing them back online.
In Vermont, snow totals topped out at 17.3 inches in Marlboro, 16.5 inches in South Royalton and 16 inches in Springfield. Nearly everyone in Vermont had power during the storm, although winds Saturday forced the closing of the ferry between Charlotte and Essex, N.Y.
In Portland, the snowstorm made for a memorable wedding.
Karen Willis Beal said her vision of a dream wedding included a snowstorm just like the one hit before her parents married in December 1970. The record-breaking storm prevented some of her guests from attending, but there were no regrets.
The happy couple even had some outdoor photos taken during the snowstorm.
‘‘I have always wanted a snowstorm for my wedding, and my wish has come true to the max. This is what I've wished for all my life,’’ Beal said Saturday after the ceremony.
Associated Press Writers David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H., contributed to this story.