A messy mix of snow, sleet and rain Friday and Saturday is likely to hinder holiday travel in Maine, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou and Gray.
And, after temperatures warm slightly Saturday and Sunday, when the sun is expected to re-appear briefly, more snow is expected throughout the state on Christmas Day.
A storm moving in from the south on Friday will hit Greater Bangor with about 4 inches of snow by Saturday morning, changing to a mix of snow and sleet by Saturday afternoon. Ice accumulation of up to three-tenths of an inch thick could top off the snow from western and central Maine up into southern Aroostook County.
Less than a two-tenths of a inch of ice are predicted along the coast, at higher elevations in the mountains, and in far northern Maine.
“It’s not enough ice to cause any major problems or power outages, but it’s enough to make for slippery conditions walking or driving,” said Tony Mignone, a NWS forecaster in Caribou.
— NWS Caribou (@NWSCaribou) December 22, 2017
Snow up to half a foot or 8 inches is expected for southern and central Maine. Snow won’t arrive in northern Aroostook County until overnight Friday.
Winter storm warnings are in place for York, Cumberland and southern Oxford counties, where cold surface temperatures are expected to freeze rain on Saturday as it falls from warmer temperatures at higher altitude.
Late Friday afternoon, a winter storm warning also was issued for northern Aroostook County, where 6 to 10 inches of snow and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch are expected to fall between 1 a.m. Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday. A winter weather advisory is in place for the rest of the state.
“If you’ve got to travel, I’d do it right now, or wait until Sunday, because late today [and] early tomorrow is just going to be a mess,” Tom Hawley, a NWS forecaster in Gray said Friday.
Latest snow and ice accumulation forecasts for today and tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Htj5yjeejd
— NWS Gray (@NWSGray) December 22, 2017
As for the snow expected on Christmas Day, NWS forecasters said it’s still too early to tell how much snow is expected to fall and where. According to The Weather Channel, the western mountains and Portland could get around half a foot, while inland areas inland and further north could get between 1 and 4 inches.
“I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that everyone [in Maine] is going to have a white Christmas,” Mignone said.
On Friday, much of Maine woke up to frigid single-digit temperatures, which aren’t predicted to climb out of the teens until Saturday.
Snow will fall steadily overnight Friday and into Saturday morning, amounting to around 4 inches by daybreak Saturday, according to Mignone.
Snow totals will decrease as the storm moves northeast, forecasters said. Portland is expected to get approximately 6 inches by Friday evening, with closer to 4 inches in the Augusta area.
The precipitation in most of Maine will turn into rain by Saturday evening, and the change could happen even earlier along the midcoast.
In far northern Maine, Saturday snowfall will avoid turning to freezing rain until late afternoon Saturday, but only for a short period before it turns back into snow, forecasters said. About 2 to 4 inches is predicted by the end of the day.
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