BELFAST, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In the places that got the worst of the ice storm, many people are facing a cold Christmas.
Some are even heading to shelters to get warm. In Waldo County, trees and power lines came crashing down Monday, and the emergency management office says nearly three quarters of the county's residents are in the dark tonight.
Belfast and nearby towns, closer to the coast, were the hardest hit. Local police and fire departments, rescue squads and non-profit groups have been checking on the elderly and other residents to make sure they're all right.
The Red Cross set up a shelter at Belfast's Tory Howard Middle School, which welcomed 11 people Monday night, and already had exceeded that number by 4:30 Tuesday afternoon.
Waldo County Emergency Management director Dale Rowley told NEWS CENTER people shouldn't expect power to be restored quickly, "Two or three days most likely," said Rowley. "Their best bet today is don't assume the power will be back up. Go find someplace you can stay warm whether a hotel, family, the shelter, whatever. Don't expect it to come back up for tonight."
CMP repair crews were able to restore power to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, and to a trailer park filled with elderly residents, according to the EMA office. As of noon, there were about 17,800 customers in the county without power.