Mainers began digging out Tuesday after another round of snow was heaped on the Pine Tree State.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for much of eastern, central and coastal Maine through 6 p.m. Tuesday. A winter weather advisory is in place for the Down East coast.
A fast-moving band of snow moved northwest through the state Tuesday morning, dumping as much as 2 inches of snow an hour and reducing visibility at times to a quarter mile, according to the weather service.
“Heavy snow rates may result in difficult passage due to rapid build up of snow on roadways before they are plowed. You may want to postpone travel until heavy snow becomes lighter and plowing operations have a chance to catch up. A few lightning strikes are also possible with this area of heavy snow,” read a weather service advisory issued at 8:48 a.m. Tuesday.
Band of HEAVY SNOW tracking north through the area. Rates up to 2″ per hour. About to move into Presque Isle and Caribou. Don’t be surprised to hear a few rumbles of thunder! #MEwx pic.twitter.com/2uq0D8jrib
— NWS Caribou (@NWSCaribou) December 3, 2019
Snow and sleet began to fall over Greater Bangor about 6 a.m., adding a white coating to already slick roads and sidewalks. That snowfall grew in intensity from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. as the storm moved through the region, according to the weather service.
— NWS Caribou (@NWSCaribou) December 2, 2019
The storm was expected to dump 4 to 9 inches across a wide swath of the state, according to a weather service advisory.
Greater Bangor was forecast to see up to 9 inches of fresh snow from this latest storm, according to the weather service office in Caribou. That mirrored the expected accumulation for central and northern Penobscot County and eastern Aroostook County, with up to 10 inches of snow expected in Lincoln, Millinocket, Houlton and Caribou, according to the weather service.
Snowfall was expected to lessen toward the Canadian border, where up to 8 inches and 7 inches were forecast for Madawaska and Fort Kent, respectively, and northwest of Bangor, where up to 7 inches were forecast for Greenville and 4 inches near Clayton Lake, according to the weather service.
Coastal Hancock and Washington County were spared the worst of the snow, but up to a quarter inch of sleet and freezing rain was expected from Bar Harbor to Eastport, the weather service reports. Lesser amounts of sleet and freezing rain were expected inland toward Bangor.
— NWS Caribou (@NWSCaribou) December 2, 2019
The storm prompted a number of school closings across the state, including in Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Biddeford, Brewer, Brunswick, Calais, Ellsworth, Falmouth, Glenburn, Lewiston and Portland. Beal College and Husson University in Bangor canceled classes, as well as Maine Maritime Academy in Castine and the University of Maine in Orono.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Tuesday morning that all state government offices would be closed due to worsening storm conditions.
“With the snowfall intensifying and winds growing stronger in the coming hours, driving conditions will only become more difficult and dangerous,” Mills said in a statement. “Given the severe inclement weather, I have directed state offices closed for the day. I urge all Maine people to avoid driving if possible and, for those who must, I urge you to do so with caution and to provide ample space to our road maintenance crews and first responders as they work to clear and keep our roads safe.”
“With the potential for wet, heavy snow overnight and through Tuesday, we’re arranging for extra staffing beginning tonight,” Stan Hartin, Emera Maine’s storm manager, said Monday. “While we’ll be working to safely address any outages as quickly as possible, we also ask our customers to help themselves stay safe by planning for the storm. Make sure you have a supply of fresh water, nonperishable food, batteries and flashlights. Be mindful of travel advisories and always follow manufacturer guidelines when using a generator.”
As of 12:55 p.m., Emera Maine and Central Maine Power reported only isolated outages across their service areas.
The storm came on the heels of a round of snow caused by a complex low-pressure system moving out of the Midwest and Great Lakes that hit parts of Maine and New Hampshire late Sunday.
That round of snow dumped up to 2 inches across Androscoggin, Cumberland and Oxford counties, according to the weather service office in Gray. Snowfall piled higher across York County, where 9 inches fell in York, 5.5 inches in Kennebunk and more than 7 inches near Ogunquit, and in southern New Hampshire, where some counties saw more than a foot of snow, the weather service reports.
Related: Don’t let the snow get you down