Instead of clearing tree branches and sweeping parking lots, employees of C.K.C. Landscaping in South Portland are passing the time these days by tinkering with equipment, said Kenny Roberts, whose family owns the business.
“We can’t start any spring projects yet,” he said. That is, not if they don’t want to do them over.
With record-breaking cold and the prospect of still more snow, the start of spring is effectively still on hold days after it officially began.
Many businesses that rely on the arrival of warmer weather are waiting on outdoor work. Little League teams, forming now, are set to practice indoors. Garden clubs are waiting out the cold before they start digging. And outdoor recreation businesses are still waiting for temperatures to rise.
Looks like they’ll have to wait a little longer.
Monday’s low temperature of 11 degrees in Portland was the coldest on the books for March 24.
Now, the Portland area is expected to get as much as 1-2 inches of snow, starting in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. It could get more if the storm that’s tracking offshore turns inland.
“It’s definitely something we’re going to monitor very closely,” said Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray, who noted that the record for the latest snowfall of the season is still more than a month away.
The worst weather is expected to hit far Down East. Blizzard watches will be in effect for Tuesday night into Wednesday in coastal and central Washington County, with 8 to 12 inches of snow and white-out conditions fueled by high winds expected.
“It’s Maine,” Curtis said. “Unfortunately, winter likes to hold on.”
Meanwhile, C.K.C. Landscaping’s clients are lined up and waiting for spring cleanups, said Roberts.
That means the company will have to cram more work into a shorter time, making for long days and even longer weeks for the workers. “It’s very frustrating,” he said.
It’s enough to make some throw up their hands.
St. Mary’s Garden Club in Falmouth canceled its first work day of the season, scheduled for April 8 at the Lois Murphy Kindness Garden at Falmouth Middle School.
“We had a meeting this morning and decided, yeah, that’s delusional,” said Katy Gannon-Janelle, the club’s president.
She said the garden is in a courtyard and tends to warm up faster than the grounds around it. “This year, there’s probably three feet of snow on the garden still.”
At Warren Field in Westbrook, a maintenance worker measured 14 inches last week. Westbrook Little League is scheduled to start practicing there on Monday.
“It’s not going to happen,” said Randy MacWhinnie, the league president.
He said the call was made at a coaches meeting Sunday to hold the first three weeks of practice indoors. Opening day is scheduled for April 26, and there already has been talk of pushing that back.
“We’re getting a little nervous,” MacWhinnie said.
The clubhouse at Pleasant Hill Disc Golf in Scarborough usually opens in the first week of March, said owner Kristi Stanley. This year, it hasn’t opened yet and Stanley won’t predict when it will.
“I’m tired of guessing,” she said.
Curtis, the meteorologist, said temperatures early Tuesday were expected to reach a low of 4 degrees, though that wouldn’t break any records. In 1956, a low of zero degrees set the mark for March 25.
“It’s cold every year,” said Katie Porch, owner of the Two Lights Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth. “Exceptionally cold this year? Yes.”
She said that eating outdoors is never pleasant when the lobster shack opens for the start of the season – which this year will happen Saturday.
Porch even managed to put a positive spin on this year’s temperatures.
“The cold weather often brings the clearest skies for the beautiful views out there,” she said.
Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: