PORTLAND, Maine — Blustery winds and a heavy snowfall hit the coast of Maine and some inland locales overnight Saturday, making driving challenging Sunday morning, but ski resort personnel couldn’t be more pleased.
The storm, which is following a nor’easter that dumped from 6 to 17 inches of snow throughout the state on Thursday and Friday night, may drop as much as 10 inches in parts of Hancock and Washington counties, according to Tony Mignone of the National Weather Service in Caribou.
“The winds are going to be picking up,” he said Saturday. “It’s not only the snow. It’ll be blowing around during the day. Visibility is going to be reduced … We don’t want to discourage people from going out, but it’s not going to be the best driving conditions.”
At about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the Maine Turnpike Authority announced that the speed limit had been reduced to 45 mph from Kittery to Augusta. At about 3:45 p.m., the Maine Department of Transportation announced that the speed limit also had been reduced to 45 mph from Augusta to Bangor.
The meteorologist said that his office issued a winter storm warning Saturday for parts of Washington County, including the communities of Cherryfield, Machias and Grand Lake Stream, that will be in effect from 7 p.m. through Sunday morning.
“There will be heavy snowfall in the warning area,” Mignone said.
The National Weather Service in Gray at noon Saturday issued a winter storm warning for midcoast Maine that will be in effect from late afternoon through Sunday. Six to 12 inches of windblown, heavy snowfall are predicted to hit communities from Topsham in Sagadahoc County to Winterport in Waldo County. Slippery roads and reduced visibility will impact the coast, with snow expected to taper off around sunrise Sunday.
The fresh snow forecast to blanket the Camden Snow Bowl ski resort should mean busy trails and open lifts, according to acting general manager Beth Ward.
“We’ve been blessed,” she said. “With the last storm that was supposed to be a mix, we ended up with all snow. It has been really busy this week. There’s lots of excitement here. Lots of happy kids.”
She said that the town-owned ski area’s chairlift should open at midday Sunday. So far, the kids and crowds have been using the rope tow and T-bar but the additional snowfall will help.
The season opened with sadness at the Snow Bowl after long-time manager Jeff Kuller died in November after a tree he was cutting down fell on him.
Meanwhile, many Mainers were taking the sudden onslaught of snowstorms in stride.
Lin White, owner of Park’s Hardware in Orono, said that sales of shovels and sleds Saturday were nothing out of the ordinary.
“We’re just plodding along. It’s Maine in the wintertime,” he said. “Hopefully people are getting out and enjoying the snow and having fun in it. It’s been awhile since we’ve had snow.”