BDN reporters go out into the snowstorm so you don't have to.

A fast-moving storm expected to drop up to a foot of snow throughout most of Maine on Wednesday arrived in southern Maine late morning and is on schedule to barrel into the Bangor area by mid-afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow began falling in Portland not long after noon and is expected to start falling in Bangor around 2 p.m., according to Tony Mignone, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou.

“It’s moving pretty fast, so I would think it would arrive in the next hour or so,” Mignone said around 1 p.m.

The storm will hit hardest during and after the evening commute, falling at a rate of 1 or 2 inches an hour, causing poor visibility and slippery conditions on the roads. Along the immediate coast, freezing rain will mix with snow.

A widespread 6 to 12 inches in predicted across the state, including Bangor. The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for nearly the entire state that will stay in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday until 1 a.m Thursday. A less severe winter weather advisory was issued for the state’s upper northwest corner, near Fort Kent, and the eastern coast in Washington and Hancock counties.

[Closings, cancellations and delays]

The snow is predicted to let up around midnight.

“It’s a quick-hitter,” Eric Schwibs, a meteorologist with the weather service in Gray, said.

Schools across the state closed Wednesday or called early dismissals in anticipation of hazardous road conditions. A swath of government buildings and community organizations also adjusted their hours or closed. A full list of cancellations and closures is available on the BDN’s website:

Along the immediate coastline, warmer air will turn the precipitation into sleet and freezing rain, limiting snowfall totals to 3 to 6 inches, according to Priscilla Farrar, a forecaster in Caribou. Pure rain is predicted to fall on the outer islands, she said.

Heavy snowfall will create whiteout conditions and greasy roadways as people make their way home from work. Driving conditions and visibility are expected to be poor during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

“It’s going to be dumping down at a very heavy rate, but I don’t see much as far as wind-driven snow,” Farrar said, noting that most of the afternoon’s restricted visibility will be caused by fast-falling flakes instead of gusty weather.

Forecasters encourage people to stay off the roads during the height of the snowfall. Anyone who has to travel should keep an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicles in case of an emergency, they added.

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Callie Ferguson

Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.