CARIBOU, Maine — Bangor and coastal areas will see less snow but more rain and wind with “a limited-area nor’easter” expected to bring up to 18 inches of snow to northern Maine on Thursday, a National Weather Service meteorologist said Wednesday.
Slightly higher temperatures will give the first nor’easter of the winter of 2016-2017 a rainier touch than first predicted. It is due to hit Bangor and swing northwest through Maine starting Thursday afternoon, said Todd Foisy, science and operations officer at the weather service’s Caribou office.
“It is going to go over to rain pretty quickly by Thursday evening. It will still probably be snowy for rush hour. That’s when most of the snow will be falling for Thursday afternoon for Bangor,” Foisy said Wednesday.
Bangor and Maine’s coastal areas will likely get up to 4 inches of snow from the storm, rather than the 4 to 8 inches initially predicted, Foisy said. Stronger winds, with gusts of up to 60 mph, will also come with the storm as it barrels into Bangor and coastal Hancock and Washington county areas. Some utility lines will likely be taken out as the wind blows.
Lesser gusts of 50 mph are expected in Camden and farther south, Foisy said.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the storm was on track to bring the heaviest accumulations of snow, about 12 to 18 inches, from Fort Kent through Baxter State Park to Greenville, late Thursday night into Friday morning. Dover-Foxcroft will likely get about 13 inches; Greenville, 16, Foisy said.
Northeastern and east central Maine, including Caribou, Dover-Foxcroft, Houlton and Lincoln, will likely get 8 to 12 inches of snow. Snowfall accumulations will taper from that in the area from Bangor to the coast, with Washington County getting no snow to 7 inches, said Vic Nouhan, a lead forecaster for the National Weather Service’s Caribou office.
The heaviest accumulations, as much as 3 inches per hour, would likely come around midnight into early Friday, he said.
State emergency planners warned motorists to stay off the roads and to yield to plows and emergency vehicles whenever possible.
“Because it’s the first really big storm of the season, we want to remind people to take some time to plan ahead today,” said Pete Rogers, deputy director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency. “We’ve spent much of the day reaching out to utilities and emergency services agencies to ensure everyone is as prepared as possible. “
Nouhan said the storm was limited because it won’t blanket with heavy snow every area it hits and because it is tracking a bit more inland than do most nor’easters.
The storm will leave the state over the New Brunswick area and die down by Friday afternoon.
The weather service upgraded the storm from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning for all of northern and eastern Maine, particularly north of Bangor, from late Thursday afternoon to mid-Friday afternoon, Foisy said.
Nor’easters are cyclonic storms so-called because the heavy swirling winds that propel them come from the northeast. Nor’easters usually develop in the latitudes between Georgia and New Jersey, within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast. These storms progress generally northeastward and typically attain maximum intensity near New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.