November 19, 2018
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Maine returns to the deep freeze this weekend

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
A pedestrian walks along a Portland sidewalk. Mainers are bracing themselves for low temperatures with below-zero wind chill this weekend.

Just as Mainers were digging out from the foot-plus of snow that fell during Thursday’s blizzard, forecasters said bone-chilling temperatures would settle across the state through the coming weekend.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said that after temperatures plummet on Friday back into the single digits, wind chill-adjusted temperatures on Saturday could could drop as low 40 below zero Fahrenheit in some mountain areas.

Some Maine towns and cities are expected to have sub-zero temperatures overnight. Bangor is forecast to reach 8 below, areas along the coast 1 to 2 degrees above zero, Millinocket 10 below, and Houlton and Caribou 12 below to 15 below. Temperatures will be even lower on Saturday night.

The NWS has issued wind chill warnings for the mountains and wind chill advisories for coastal areas inland as far as Augusta and Lewiston through 11 a.m. Saturday.

“Right now we’re expecting the wind chill to reach 20 below in coastal areas and 30 to 40 below in the mountains,” Norton said. “Tomorrow, up in the mountains, it will feel like it’s 40 below, and 25 to 30 below at the coast.”

Cold air is expected to last through Sunday, with Monday temperatures likely to reach 30 degrees in the Portland area, and perhaps 36 to 37 degrees on Tuesday.

“It’s looking like it will get back more to normal,” said Tom Hawley, a NWS meteorologist in Gray. “Then, at the end of the week, we’ll have snow changing to rain in southern Maine, and mixed in the mountains.”

As for Thursday’s “bomb cyclone,” so-called because of the rapid drop in atmospheric pressure that whipped up strong winds, some areas in Maine got a foot and a half or more of snow.

[Maine feels blizzard’s blast with heavy snow and high winds]

The vast majority of the state received at least a half a foot of snow from Thursday into Friday morning. Holden got the largest reported amount with 24 inches, according to information compiled by the weather service. Several locales in Aroostook County recorded snowfall between 18 and 22 inches, while Bangor got 18.3 inches.

Thursday afternoon, the NWS confirmed a report of thunder snow about 25 miles south of Bangor. Norton said thunder snow is rare but not unheard of and is essentially a thunderstorm with snow instead of rain.

In southern Maine, most snow measurements were between 8 and 12 inches, while many areas in and around Androscoggin County got more than a foot. Portland got a little less than a foot, according to NWS.

[Blizzard snowfall totals for Maine]

In Caribou, where snow continued to fall Friday morning north and east of the city, there was “a complete white-out” for most of the night, Norton said.

“Looking out our window at the water tower 1/16 of a mile away, if you didn’t see the beacon light going around you wouldn’t know it was there,” he said. “And most of the night we couldn’t see the beacon light.”

Hawley said snow flurries were possible today in southern and western Maine, with snow showers in the mountains, but accumulating snow had essentially ended.

Peak wind gusts during the storm reached above 50 mph in many areas in southern and midcoast Maine, including 50-plus gusts in Augusta and Manchester. Gusts above 40 mph were recorded in central Aroostook County and close to 50 mph in coastal Hancock County, with a few above 40 mph in the Bangor area.

The highest gusts recorded during the storm were 61 mph at Matinicus and 63 mph at Frenchboro.

BDN reporter Bill Trotter contributed to this report.

Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.

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