PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The body of a Maine man who became disoriented in blinding snow and drove his pickup into the Penobscot River was recovered Sunday following a massive snowstorm that buried the region and left officials warning that the cleanup could take days, and possibly weeks, to complete in Maine and New Hampshire.
Gerald Crommett, 75, of Passadumkeag, was the only known death in northern New England that was blamed on the snowstorm that brought record snowfall to the area.
Leaving home during the storm, Crommett apparently became disoriented in the heavy snow, driving into a tree Saturday and then continuing for 60 feet onto the Penobscot River, crashing into the icy water a mile from his house, officials said. Wardens used an airboat to locate the submerged pickup and divers recovered his body Sunday.
The snow, which caused whiteout conditions, dumped 32 inches on Berwick, Maine, 29.5 inches on Seabrook, N.H., and stretched into Vermont. It was the second-biggest snowfall on record in Concord, N.H., and the biggest snowfall in Portland, Maine, according to John Cannon of the National Weather Service.
On Sunday, virtually all public roads were open across northern New England, but there was plenty of snow still piled up on sidewalks and roadsides.
In Portland, Public Services Director Mike Bobinsky said crews were focusing on the downtown, where 8- to 10-foot snow banks hampered visibility. In the coming week, crews will work to clear 100 miles of sidewalks and venture into neighborhoods.
‘‘We’re counting the days until spring,’’ Bobinsky joked.
The storm caused hundreds of thousands of power outages in the Northeast, but power had been restored to all homes and businesses in Maine and New Hampshire by Sunday.
Monday’s forecast called for up to a half-inch of rain, potentially making the cleanup messier and raising concerns about additional weight on snow-covered roofs.
Many skiers, meanwhile, raced to the mountains Sunday to enjoy the fresh powder before the potential for ice, sleet and rain.
‘‘The conditions were fantastic,’’ said Nick Reuter, co-owner of an enthusiast website and part of a group of 125 skiers who spent the weekend at Sugarloaf, which received 15 to 18 inches of snow. ‘‘People call it champagne powder. It was very light and fluffy.’’
Surfers also were taking advantage of the storm. In Hampton Beach, N.H., dozens of surfers rode waves churned up by the winter storm.
Perry Reynolds of Salisbury, Mass., said he surfed 6-foot waves Sunday morning before reporting to work at Cinnamon Rainbow, a Hampton Beach surf shop, where there was a steady stream of surfers buying gloves and boots which, along with thick wetsuits, are necessary for winter surfing.
‘‘We haven’t had waves of this caliber in two to three weeks,’’ Reynolds said.
As for the cleanup, private workers and municipal workers continued to put in long hours, but the pace was not as frenetic as it was Friday and Saturday.
Sam Napolitano of South Portland, Maine, said he'd worked 15 hours before getting a few hours of sleep and reporting back for the final 24-hour stretch to get commercial parking lots cleared.
He wasn’t complaining, though.
He said he appreciated the snow and the overtime pay. ‘‘It’s like dollars from the sky,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s the way I look at it.