BANGOR, Maine — Schools and offices around the state were closed Wednesday as a snowstorm blanketed southern and coastal Maine with snowfall that was predicted to amount to as much as a foot.
A winter storm warning is in effect for much of Maine until 10 p.m. due to the storm, which has already walloped the Midwest and is set to hit York County and southern New Hampshire with 8-12 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Driving is expected to be difficult across Maine and dozens of school districts statewide, along with some municipal offices, have closed. State offices in nine southern and coastal counties would close at noon, according to a press release from Gov. Paul LePage.
“I urge all of you to drive safely as you commute to your destination,” he said. “Stopping on snow or ice without skidding requires extra time and distance. Drive slowly so you can adjust to changing road conditions. Please remember to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles and give plow trucks plenty of room to operate.”
The University of Maine was also slated to close campus at 2 p.m.
Much of the state, including the coast from Portland to Belfast and inland from Oxford County to Pittsfield, is forecast to get 5-10 inches Wednesday.
The Bangor area, Hancock County and Down East will see 8 inches or less, according to the weather service, and the Katahdin Region and north will likely be spared or see light snow.
In Waldo County, where the fast-falling flakes changed the color of the landscape from dismal brown to clean white over the course of the morning, teachers and students relished their first snow day in several weeks.
Matt and Rachel Littlefield of Waldo both teach at the Waldo County Technical Center. He said Wednesday that he, his wife and their two elementary school-aged children all have been sick in the last few weeks, so they were glad to have an extra day to rest and get better.
“This one I was looking forward to,” he said of the snow day. “It’s a day where I can still be in my pajamas and not do much of anything.”
Speed limits on the Maine Turnpike and Interstate 295 have been reduced to 45 mph, and Portland International Jetport reported a number of canceled arriving and departing flights.
Bangor International Airport only canceled one outbound flight on Wednesday, while one arriving flight was canceled as well.
Portland also issued a citywide parking ban that will take effect starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday and run through 6 a.m. Thursday.
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.