April 20, 2018
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Icy rain will create treacherous travel across state

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
A pedestrian splashes through a puddle of snowmelt as temperatures climbed above freezing, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Portland, Maine. The temperatures in the upper 30s were a welcome relief following a long stretch of sub-zero weather. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

Mainers can expect a mixture of rain, freezing rain and sleet over the next several days, followed by a storm on Saturday.

The forecast calls for temperatures rising into the 40s throughout the state on Thursday and Friday, but for plenty of wet weather to come along with it.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Wednesday for all of the state except the coast. Freezing rain overnight is expected to make travel conditions “treacherous” late Wednesday through Thursday morning.

“The ice will result in very slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges, including during the morning commute on Thursday,” NWS forecasters said in the advisory. “Total ice accumulations of a light glaze are expected.”

Precipitation will turn into rain and then cease as temperatures rise on Thursday, but conditions will remain cloudy with some fog throughout much of Maine.

Then, more rain is expected to arrive Thursday evening in Portland and then to head northeast toward Bangor overnight. Rain will fall throughout the state Friday as temperatures climb to nearly 50 degrees during the day.

The thawing temperatures could result in ice movements and resulting jams in some rivers, forecasters said. Officials have urged Maine residents to clear heavy amounts of snow off their roofs before the rain arrives Thursday night into Friday.

Saturday is when things likely will get a little complicated, according to forecasters.

“The big finale is a big, mixed precipitation storm late Friday into Saturday,” said Mal Walker, a meteorologist at the NWS office in Caribou. “That’s the one that people really have to look out for.”

Cold air is expected to arrive back in the state on Friday evening, moving into the St. John Valley from Canada and then southward. The rain is expected to shift over to freezing rain and sleet from Bangor north by Saturday morning and then to continue throughout the day and into the overnight hours. In Aroostook County, the precipitation is expected to turn into snow Saturday afternoon.

Further south, in Portland and along the coast, rain is expected to last throughout the day Saturday before turning over to freezing precipitation in the late afternoon or evening hours. The clouds are expected to clear out of Maine on Sunday, with the possible exception of continuing clouds and snow showers in Aroostook County.

The weather on Saturday could produce hazardous travel conditions and some power outages in the northern half of the state.

“Travel on Saturday is likely to be very hazardous,” Walker said, adding that a half-inch of ice accumulation is possible in some places. “If people have plans to travel Saturday, it’ll probably be a good idea to rearrange your schedule.”

BDN reporter Callie Ferguson contributed to this report.

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