A workman awaits building supplies on the sixth floor of 1 Monument Square in Portland on Tuesday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett

A storm blowing across Maine on Tuesday was expected to drop a couple inches of snow across the state, a day before temperatures were likely to plunge just ahead of Thanksgiving.

As Mainers hit the road for the holiday, a meteorologist warned of slushy conditions on Tuesday afternoon and poor visibility when an arctic front arrives late Wednesday.

About 54.3 million Americans were expected to hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up 4.8 percent from last year and the greatest volume since 2005, according to AAA.

[Subscribe to our free morning newsletter and get the latest headlines in your inbox]

“Just be aware that when the arctic air initially comes in Wednesday evening, there could be a brief period of blowing snow that could result in localized whiteout conditions in open areas as wind initially surges in,” Mark Bloomer of the National Weather Service in Caribou said. “Just be very careful, keep headlights on and slow down.”

On Tuesday, a low-pressure front brought snow to southwestern Maine by early morning and to the Bangor area by noon. Boomer said 3-4 inches could fall between Bangor and Down East, while just an inch was expected in northern Maine.

The sun may come out Wednesday morning, but will be replaced by clouds and patchy snow later in the day, along with a deep freeze that will linger through Thursday and start to thaw on Friday.

“We have a really big, fierce arctic cold front coming,” Bloomer said.

While the lows in Bangor are expected to be around 8 degrees and the highs will be around 16 degrees on Thursday, the wind chill will make it feel below zero for most of the day, according to Bloomer.

Then, both the wind and cold will slightly dissipate on Friday, with highs in Bangor expected to be around 23 degrees.