The morning’s snow and ice melted into a driving rain Saturday afternoon that lined roads along Maine’s southern coast with mounds of slush and lay a damp, gray blanket over the beginning of the holiday weekend.
Mainers awoke Saturday to find a blend of snow and ice already coating the southern and central parts of the state, with purer snow further north and a mix of winter weather expected to make travel conditions difficult statewide throughout the day.
Through Saturday morning, a swath of freezing rain plastered the southern and central Maine counties with less than half an inch of ice while snow fell in more northern parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service stations in Caribou and Gray.
By the afternoon, areas on the immediate coast were beginning to see pure rain, but inland a frozen slushy mix continued to fall and throughout the state winter weather advisories remained in effect and driving conditions remained dangerous with slippery roads and limited visibility.
“The roads generally are a mess,” Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Gray, said. “I would absolutely not advise people head out if they can stay in.”
Before dawn Saturday, traffic was temporarily blocked on the Maine Turnpike near Kittery after a car spun out on the slick roads and a tractor trailer swerved and crashed into the guardrail to avoid it, police said. No one was hurt, but state police warned that the driver had been going too fast for the road conditions.
Here is the preliminary snowfall map from yesterday through today at 9am. Freezing rain is spreading over the region, be safe out there! pic.twitter.com/VUZlM5mymH
— NWS Gray (@NWSGray) December 23, 2017
And the storm that moved up from the south overnight is expected to continue to make travel challaning throughout Saturday afternoon and evening.
“We expect this freezing rain and sleet to hang around for about four to five hours before it tapers off,” Curtis said around 2:30 p.m
Around Bangor, snowfall totaled between four and seven inches by Saturday afternoon and ice between two and three tenths of an inch thick will layer on top of that as air at higher altitudes warms, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters told people in York, Cumberland and southern Oxford counties to expect steady, mixed precipitation through Saturday morning and afternoon, as the surface temperature remains around freezing and air higher up warms. In those areas, ice accumulation may down tree limbs and knock out power lines, the National Weather Service said.
In parts of Aroostook County snow piled to between seven and 10 inches through the morning, before changing to sleet and freezing rain this afternoon.
— NWS Caribou (@NWSCaribou) December 23, 2017
Throughout the state, the messy mix is expected to continue falling into Saturday night before the weather clears Sunday.
Christmas Eve is forecasted to see cold sunny weather, with temperatures a bit above and below freezing in Portland and Bangor, respectively, and colder air in the northern and mountainous parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service.
Another winter storm will likely arrive on Christmas, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to much of the state, forecasters said.
The Bangor region could see as much as six to 10 inches of new snow from late Sunday night into Christmas afternoon, while the Portland area may get four to eight new inches during the day Monday.
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