Half a foot of snow expected in Maine this weekend

Posted Oct. 28, 2011, at 10:51 a.m.
Last modified Oct. 29, 2011, at 12:20 p.m.

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National Weather Service, Caribou

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PORTLAND, Maine — A weekend storm could bring plenty of chills to the state this Halloween weekend as the National Weather Service said Friday that more than 6 inches of snow is expected in many parts of Maine.

A winter storm watch has been posted throughout the state, according to Mal Walker of the National Weather Service in Caribou.

The advisory calls for 4 to 8 inches of snow in Penobscot, Hancock and Washington counties and includes Greater Bangor, Ellsworth, Mount Desert Island, Machias and Eastport. The advisory notes heavy, wet snow and 15- to 25-mph winds with gusts up to 35 mph will create hazardous traveling conditions.

“It’s not going to be an all-snow event based on the latest track,” Walker told the Bangor Daily News on Friday. “People are really going to have to use caution. If you can stay off the roads from Saturday night into Sunday morning it’ll probably be a good thing.”

Folks on the coast could see mixed precipitation, Walker said.

Walker added that it’s likely a low percentage of Maine drivers have snow tires on their vehicles.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. Friday, the weather service in Caribou said that up to 10 inches of snow can be expected in certain parts of Maine, while the entire state with the exception of northern Aroostook County is under a winter storm watch.

Meteorologist Tom Hawley said some computer models originally indicated the storm would blow out to sea. Instead, he said it will give a late October wallop to the state starting Saturday night.

Central Maine Power said it is preparing for the storm.

“We’ve put our storm response plan into motion, and we’re watching the forecast closely,” said John Carroll, spokesperson for Central Maine Power. “Our main concern will be the moisture content of the snow and the high winds forecast to accompany the storm. Wet snow sticks to trees, limbs, and leaves that have not yet been shed from trees. The weight can bring them down on our lines.”

Local Halloween events are expected to go off without a hitch, as Fright Night at the Fort at Fort Knox in Prospect is still on for 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday.

The storm has record-breaking potential. The largest snowfall that occurred in Bangor on Oct. 30 was 5 inches in 1963, with 13 falling in Fort Kent that same day. The city’s record for an October snowfall is 7.8 inches in 1962.

On Friday morning, police said the season’s first blast of winter weather made driving treacherous.

Speed limits on the Maine Turnpike from Kittery to Exit 63 in Gray were reduced to 45 mph because of freezing rain early Friday, but were lifted later in the morning.

The Turnpike Authority also reported black ice conditions from New Gloucester south.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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