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Chilling Arctic cold to follow precipitation

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN
Norm Veillette, right, and his daughter, Olivia, left, of Glenburn, scrape and shovel ice from the driveway of their home on Ohio Street on Monday, December 28, 2009. (Bangor Daily News/Kevin Bennett)
By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The second major snowstorm for northern and central Maine in less than a week began working its way northward Monday night, bringing with it a mix of cold rain, heavy snow and high winds.

A National Weather Service winter storm warning was expected to remain in effect for east central, north central and southeast Maine until 6 a.m. today. A winter weather advisory was put into effect for northern and western areas, also through 6 a.m. today.

The snow was expected to be followed by a strong Arctic front today, producing strong northwest winds, bitter cold and dangerous wind chills, the weather service warned.

On Monday, forecasts called for 5 to 7 inches of snow in most parts of Maine, though some spots could see as much as 8 inches by the time the storm winds down early today, meteorologist Chris Norcross of the NWS office in Caribou said Monday evening.

“Eventually, everyone’s going to get some snow from it,” Norcross said.

Though the snow was expected to wind down early today, forecasts predicted 20 to 30 mph winds — with gusts of up to 40 mph — that were expected to result in blowing and drifting snow as well as near-whiteout conditions in some spots, Norcross said.

On top of that, temperatures were expected to plunge early this morning from the low to mid-20s into the teens, Norcross said.

The storm that began Monday followed a snowstorm in the middle of last week that dumped 12 to 20 inches across central and northern Maine.

Though Greater Bangor escaped the brunt of that storm, it appears things could be different this time around.

The NWS predicted that the heaviest snow band would stretch from the western mountains and foothills eastward to Bangor and Millinocket and on to Houlton in southern Aroostook County.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, however, Penobscot County — including the Bangor area — had seen only rain. Dispatchers with the state police barracks in Orono and the Penobscot Regional Communications Center said there had been no storm-related problems, including motor vehicle accidents, as of 8 p.m.

In anticipation of the impending storm, the city of Bangor put a downtown parking ban into effect from 11 p.m. Monday through 6 a.m. today. In the meantime, public works crews remained on standby, a dispatcher on the evening shift said at about 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, some points north were beginning to see snow.

Dover-Foxcroft police Officer Todd Lyford reported Monday that a light snow began falling at about 6 p.m. He also reported no storm-related action as of 7:30 p.m.

The snow wasn’t expected to arrive in Aroostook County until about 10 p.m., a state police dispatcher in the Houlton barracks said, citing a weather teletype he’d received earlier in the day.

This week’s storm might not be the last to hit the state in 2009, Norcross said, adding that there was “a lot of potential” for another storm to hit the state late Thursday, New Year’s Eve, or Friday, New Year’s Day, though he said it still was too early to say for certain.

The NWS seven-day forecast for the region called for an 80 percent chance of precipitation on the first day of 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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