BRUNSWICK, Maine — Temperatures across the state were higher Sunday, but the ground is still frozen, and the coming rain will freeze on contact, the National Weather Service warns.
“We’ll have a flash-freeze, a short warm-up, and then it gets really, really cold behind it [Monday],” lead meteorologist Joe Hewitt of the National Weather Service in Caribou said Sunday. “Any water that lies around is going to refreeze.”
In the Portland area, freezing rain was predicted to start around 7 p.m. Sunday, then it will snow for awhile before returning to sleet and freezing rain between 10 p.m. and midnight. By the morning commute, Portland will see rain, but Hewitt warned, “Even though it looks like it’s liquid, it could be really, really slick on the surface.”
Later Sunday night, freezing rain is expected to reach the Bangor area and Down East, lasting through “drive time” on Monday and changing over to rain later in the day farther north.
“The changeover is going to be pretty quick,” Hewitt said. “And it will change over even quicker in southern Maine. Since the surface conditions have been so cold, it’s going to take a little bit of time for [the ground] to warm up. Even though it goes to liquid rain in the morning, that liquid could refreeze right on the surface. That’s something we’re really concerned about.”
Hewitt cautioned that Monday’s rain — as much as three-quarters of an inch in the coastal areas — will fall on top of melted snow, and may clog storm drains.
The drenched snow will weigh heavily on rooftops already groaning under the recent snowfall.
Winds will pick up statewide Monday morning, reaching up to 50 mph along the coast near Portland and Brunswick.
Later in the week, the cold returns, with temperatures 0 to 10 degrees overnight Monday through Friday morning, and daytime highs no more than 15 to 20 degrees in the Bangor area. The southern part of the state will reach 25 to 30 degrees later in the week.