AUGUSTA — A massive mid-week storm system growing in the Atlantic Ocean shouldn’t bring much snow to inland and southern Maine, a federal meteorologist said Monday afternoon.

By Tuesday night into Wednesday, the system is expected to track north from the mid-Atlantic toward the Gulf of Maine, growing into a strong cyclone over the water in what meterologists call “bombogenesis” — or a meteorological bomb — with the biggest impact on Down East.

On Monday afternoon, blizzard watches were in effect for Tuesday night into Wednesday far Down East, in coastal and central Washington County, where Mike Kistner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said between eight and 12 inches of snow is expected with white-out conditions fueled by high wind. A blizzard has wind of more than 35 mph, with signifcant snow and close to zero visibility.

Coastal and interior Hancock County, along with Knox County, northern Washington County and coastal Waldo County were also under storm watches. But inland and in southern parts of the state, the impact is expected to be minimal, Kistner said.

Kistner predicted that Portland and other points in eastern Cumberland and York counties could get between one and two inches of snow with gusty wind. The Augusta and Waterville areas could get less than an inch according to forecasts. Even less impact is expected west of the capital city.

Kistner said the weather service’s forecasts have been consistent for four days, but he said if the storm were to track between 50 and 75 mph toward Maine’s coast, more of the state will feel the impact of a “very significant storm.”

The National Weather Service predicted gusts as high as 55 mph in parts of Washington County, with winds reaching up to 30 mph in Portland and 25 mph in Augusta.

Heavy snow is also expected in eastern Massachusetts, with the Cape Cod region also under a blizzard watch.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652 [email protected] Twitter: @mikeshepherdme@mikeshepherdme