September 25, 2017
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Winter storm on track to dump a foot of snow across Maine this week

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Updated:
Micky Bedell | BDN | BDN
Micky Bedell | BDN | BDN
Blaze maintenance man Robert McClure tries to keep on top of the falling snow so there's a clear path to the business in Bangor, Feb. 13, 2017.

BANGOR, Maine — A snowstorm could drop more than a foot of snow as it passes over Maine on Tuesday and into Wednesday, the National Weather Service said Sunday.

The storm comes on the heels of a deep freeze on Saturday that broke daily records in Caribou, Houlton, Bangor, Portland and Augusta, according to the weather service’s Caribou and Gray offices.

As of early Sunday afternoon, a winter storm watch was in effect for Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning for areas of the state south of Millinocket, according to forecasters.

By late Sunday afternoon, however, the weather service updated the watch to cover all of Maine.

“It’ll be fairly well spread out across [Maine],” meteorologist Mal Walk of the Caribou office said Sunday. “Everybody is going to get a turn in the barrel, so to speak, on this one. The only place that may actually get a reduction is down on the Washington and Hancock County coast, where it should shut off pretty early in the evening Tuesday and turn over into drizzle and sleet. So they’ll get a little less,” he said.

“I think the real thing to stress here is that once you get into Tuesday afternoon for the Bangor area, it’s going to start snowing really hard,” Walker said.

“It’s going to be challenging for crews to get out and keep the roads good, so the one point I’d like to make is that as we get into especially the afternoon commute time for Bangor and Ellsworth, it’s going to be treacherous and hopefully authorities will release people early to keep them from going out in that,” he said.

“We have a good shot at getting over 10 inches, and I think it’s reasonable to believe that most people will see a foot or more. But it’s mostly going to be Tuesday afternoon into the evening and then it’s going to shut off pretty quick,” he said, adding that the snow would continue into early Wednesday.

According to the latest forecast Sunday, northern Maine is expected to get 12 to 18 inches of snow, while the central Maine highlands, upper Penobscot Valley, and the Bangor and Down East regions can expect 11 to 17 inches, with a trace of ice accumulation possible Down East.

Points farther south will see up to 6 inches of snow, with accumulations nearing the double digits likely for a large portion of the region, especially southwest of the mountains.

The heavy snow — coupled with strong winds with gusts of up to 35 mph — is expected to result in reduced visibility and dangerous travel conditions.

Although the storm is still two days away, cancellation announcements were beginning to trickle in Sunday. The Portland Symphony Orchestra moved its performance of Brahms Requiem from Tuesday evening to Monday evening.

The Portland International Jetport on Sunday morning issued a travel advisory in advance of the storm for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The anticipated storm follows a deep freeze over the weekend that plunged parts of Maine into subzero temperatures worsened by high winds. Several locations in Maine registered record-breaking lowest high temperatures for March 11.

The previous record for Bangor for March 11 was 22 degrees in 1950, Meteorologist Francis Kredensor said Saturday. The temperature as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday was 13 degrees.

Houlton also set a record for March 11 at 2 degrees at 12:01 a.m., compared with the previous record of 19 degrees set in 1995. Caribou, where it was minus 1 on Saturday, smashed the record of 15 degrees set in 1939, according to Kredensor.

Farther south, records for March 11 were broken in Portland and Augusta, Meteorologist Margaret Curtis of the weather service’s Gray office said Sunday.

The temperature in Portland was 17 degrees at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, 6 degrees colder than the 23 degrees registered in 1960, while Augusta’s 14 degrees broke the previous record of 22 degrees, also set in 1960.

 


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