Schools across the state already were closing by noon on Thursday as Mainers prepared for a messy storm that may leave areas encased in as much as an inch of ice.

Meteorologist Tim Duda of the National Weather Service in Caribou said early Thursday afternoon that freezing rain was falling in the Portland area and that the storm is moving quickly to the northeast.

“It’s going to be a real mess throughout Maine,” he said.

The storm will continue dropping freezing rain, ice, snow and rain on the state overnight Thursday into Friday morning, and should taper off by Friday afternoon, Duda said.

As much as an inch of ice may accumulate from Bangor north to Houlton and from Greenville east to Vanceboro on the Canadian border. Those north of Houlton will have more snow accumulation, with four to eight inches expected in Caribou and six to 10 inches in Frenchville. The area south of Bangor should receive one to three inches of snow, Duda said.

Ultimately, warmer temperatures Friday will change the freezing rain into rain and likely melt the ice, he said.

“Whatever mess we get tonight will melt before colder weather sets in,” Duda said.