CARIBOU, Maine — No flurries, no light snowfall, and no wintry mix. It’s a nor’easter, a near blizzard, and it’s packing strong winds and lots of snow.
“Basically we’re seeing the ingredients in place for a powerful nor’easter that will affect a large portion of the Northeast,” said Paul Fitzsimmons, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Caribou. “This is a snow event for sure and near-blizzard conditions will be possible.
“The best way to explain it is significant snowfall with at least over a foot expected in the southern and eastern half of the state, and amounts could reach or exceed 2 feet, especially on the coast.”
Fitzsimmons said this storm also will bring northeast winds blowing 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.
The merging of two areas of low pressure, one from the south and the other from the west, will create the storm, which should land in Maine late Thursday night, Fitzsimmons said.
“It should start moving into western Maine [Thursday] night after midnight and spread through the rest of Maine through Friday going east,” Fitzsimmons added.
“Friday’s snow won’t be the heaviest part of it. That will seem more like an average snowy day. The heaviest accumulation will occur overnight Friday night into Saturday. By Sunday, it should be done.”
Travel could become nearly impossible during the times of heaviest accumulation, which could be as much as 2 to 3 inches per hour.
Fitzsimmons said it looks like the southern half of Maine will see at least a foot.
“In some cases, 2 feet or more will fall, and we are looking at the 20-inch to 2-feet range from Portland right up through Bar Harbor,” he said.
On Wednesday night, the National Weather Service forecast called for significantly lower snowfall totals in upper Aroostook County, with totals around 2 inches in Presque Isle and Caribou and 6 inches in Houlton. The Millinocket area should see 8 to 10 inches with Bangor looking at 18 to 24 inches.
The storm will arrive near the 35th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978, which killed 99 people, destroyed 2,000 homes, drove 10,000 residents into shelters and paralyzed eastern Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island for a week after ranging from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass.
Eighteen to 24 inches of snow may fall in Boston, and the city has an 85 percent chance of receiving at least 12 inches from the storm that is expected to arrive in two days, according to the weather service. New York may receive 6 to 10 inches from the storm, which will affect the area starting late Thursday.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report