PORTLAND, Maine — A snowstorm expected to bridge the seasonal change in Maine has laid down a foot of snow in at least one York County location, with forecasts still calling for as much as 18 inches in some places.
The storm is seen as winter’s last tantrum before the official arrival of spring Wednesday.
Meteorologist Margaret Curtis with the National Weather Service’s Gray office said Tuesday evening that the York County town of South Berwick reported reaching 12 inches of snow at approximately 5:45 p.m. Curtis added that the snowfall is still intensifying, falling at a rate of almost 2 inches per hour in southern Maine now.
“There’s heavy snow on the back edge of this storm,” she told the BDN.
Curtis said forecasters believe Portland’s totals were up to between 7 inches and 8 inches by approximately 6 p.m. based on the city’s earlier reports and the increase in precipitation since, she said. Bridgton, which is in Cumberland County like Portland, reported 7.8 inches, Curtis said.
“Everything’s pretty much on track,” fellow weather service meteorologist John Jensenius said earlier Tuesday. “We’re still expecting 10-18 inches across much of the forecast areas. There’s still a chance we could see some rain or sleet mixing in along the coast, but most of the precipitations in those areas are still expected to be snow.”
The storm will stretch into Tuesday night and linger into Wednesday afternoon — the first official day of spring — in Maine’s mountains.
Most schools around Maine have canceled classes in reaction to the weather, including systems serving the state’s largest three cities — Portland, Lewiston and Bangor. Parking bans have been announced in Biddeford, Brunswick, Scarborough, Westbrook and Lewiston, among many other municipalities.
For a full list of delays and cancellations, click here.
As many as 139 power outages — including 137 in Kennebec County — were reported at a single time during Tuesday’s storm, but by approximately 2:30 p.m., Central Maine Power Co. reported that all of its customers were back up. Bangor Hydro, servicing many areas still to receive the brunt of the storm Tuesday, reported no outages.
Portland has already surpassed its average winter snowfall totals for this time, having received 88.2 inches of the white stuff leading into the current storm, compared with a late March average of 60 inches. A significant amount of that load came during a record-setting 31.9-inch snowstorm that clobbered the city on Feb. 8-9.
The city’s seasonal record for snowfall came in 1970-71, when 141.5 inches fell during the course of the winter, meteorologist Eric Sinsabaugh of the National Weather Service’s Gray office said.
Portland has also announced a citywide parking ban that will take effect at 10 p.m. Tuesday and end at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
City Spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said any vehicle left parked on city streets between those hours will be towed at the owner’s expense.
Portland International Jetport has also canceled numerous flights scheduled for Tuesday.
Delta’s scheduled 6:30 a.m. departure to Atlanta was canceled, along with United flights to Newark, N.J., Washington, D.C., U.S. Airways flights to Washington and Philadelphia and a Jetblue departure to New York City.
In Bangor, U.S. Airways’ afternoon departures to Philadelphia were the only reported cancellations.
Bangor snowfall levels this winter thus far are also higher than average, but by a lesser margin. The Queen City typically sees about 58.4 inches of snow by this time of the year, and this year has received 63.6 inches.
Going into Tuesday afternoon, Aroostook County had received a less-than-average snowfall total for the year, but the latest storm should push northern Maine to a season-ending above-average amount.
According to the National Weather Service, Aroostook County had received 90.5 inches of snow through Monday, 4.1 inches below the average of 94.6 inches.
The snow was expected to start falling in northern Maine late Tuesday afternoon and pick up in intensity late that night into early Wednesday morning with 10-15 inches expected over the region.