A few words for Mainers looking to put away the shovels after clearing the wet, heavy blanket of snow left by Thursday’s storm: not so fast.
Another storm moving into the area Saturday afternoon could deliver another half-foot of snow to the Portland area, up to 10 inches along the midcoast and even more up north, according to a revised forecast issued by the National Weather Service on Friday.
Meteorologist Chris Legro, at the National Weather Service office in Gray, offered a little consolation to those with heavy arms and sore backs. The storm coming Saturday in middle to late afternoon will likely bring much lighter, fluffier snow.
From 3 to 6 inches of snow were expected in the Portland area, Mike Cempa of the National Weather Service said Friday night.
Thursday’s storm left 6 to 12 inches of snow in southern and central Maine, followed by a smattering of drizzle mixed with a few flakes during the day Friday.
“We’ll get a little break Sunday afternoon into Monday, then Tuesday we’re looking at another weather system that will come into the area,” Legro said. That weather system likely means a little more snow, he said.
Saturday’s storm was expected to have relatively little impact on air travel to and from the Portland International Jetport compared to the large number of delays and cancellations caused by Thursday’s storm, said jetport Director Paul Bradbury.
“Overall, considering we’re going into a holiday weekend, it was good that the storm hit yesterday instead of today,” Bradbury said late Friday afternoon.
Thursday’s storm affected flights to and from hub airports in Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia and New York, the most common destinations and points of origin for jetport travelers. Those airports will be spared in Saturday’s storm, which is coming from the west, Bradbury said.
“Detroit and Chicago will probably be messed up, but our hubs to the south, where we have more traffic, will not be affected,” he said.
Bradbury said Portland also has an advantage over busier metro hub airports to the south. The jetport has great equipment for snow removal, a crew experienced at clearing it and a lighter flight schedule, so runways can be readied between flights.
“Whereas Atlanta, any second you have crews out there (clearing snow) is a second you can’t have planes taking off and landing,” he said.
The most important factor at the jetport for keeping an orderly schedule of arrivals and departures is what Bradbury called the “morning push” of flights before 7 a.m.
“If you lose the morning push, everything for the rest of the day is irregular operation,” he said.
Bradbury said he expected Saturday’s morning flights would get out before the storm hits.
By Friday evening, few Mainers were without power as a result of Thursday’s storm. By 5:30 p.m., Central Maine Power reported only 15 customers without power and Bangor Hydro reported 23 outages.
Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at: