BANGOR, Maine — Area students who had last week off for school vacation may be getting an extra day off thanks to a nor’easter that is expected to dump more than a foot of snow on the ground Sunday and into Monday.
The National Weather Service on Sunday issued a hazardous weather outlook for the storm that hit central Maine in the early evening. Snowfall for the Bangor area could be “anywhere from a total of 14 to perhaps as much as 18 inches,” meteorologist Tim Duda said. “The heavy snow in the Bangor area will actually fall [Sunday night] and it will let up into [Monday].” He said the heavy steadier snow was expected to begin in earnest late Sunday night and would lighten up around noontime.
In addition to the heavy snowfall, high winds were expected to cut visibility significantly, Duda said.
“It’s going to be kind of a windy system,” he said. “That will be reducing the visibility. We’re looking at winds anywhere from 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts as high as 35 miles per hour or so.”
With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees, wind chill factors will not be a major worry, Duda said.
“The bigger concern, in regard to the wind, will be the blowing snow that will limit visibility for motorists on the roadways,” he said.
Bangor police on Sunday afternoon were telling residents to stay inside, if possible, and to be prepared if they have to venture out into the snow.
“Plan ahead and allow extra time for travel,” Sgt. Allen Hayden said Sunday. “Watch intersections when you’re approaching them and put together an emergency kit if you’re traveling long distances, in case you get stranded.”
Informing others of travel plans is recommended, and carrying a cell phone is a good idea, he said.
Area school leaders will make their decisions about whether to cancel school early Monday, Brewer Superintendent Daniel Lee said Sunday.
“Usually about 4:30 a.m. we start calling each other,” he said of area superintendents, and the school bus companies.
The big question school officials ask in making the decision is if public works crews have been able to keep the roads clear of snow, making them safe enough to travel, Lee said.
“If they can’t keep up or if we’re snowed in” school is canceled, he said.
The safety of his students, some who travel many miles to get to school, is the key factor, he said. The decision is typically made by 5:45 a.m. at the latest.
The blizzard is considered a nor’easter, Duda said, because it involves a “low pressure system developing across the mid-Atlantic region” and strong northeasterly winds from Canada that will combine to push the storm up the coastline.
According to the National Weather Service Web site, there is a 100 percent chance of snow on Sunday and 90 percent chance on Monday.
An overnight parking ban in Bangor will go into effect Sunday evening, Hayden said.
An overnight parking ban also has been imposed in Portland, The Associated Press reported.