A huge and powerful nor’easter is heading our way, and it looks like no one in Maine is going to escape the heavy snowfall it will bring starting Tuesday.

John Jensenius, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said nearly all parts of the state are likely to see between 12 and 18 inches of snow on the ground before the storm ends Wednesday morning.

The only factor that might lessen those amounts would be if the track of the storm moves farther to the east. But Jensenius said Sunday night that, unlike a few days ago, nearly all of the forecast models now show the storm striking Maine and leaving a large amount of snow behind. Several organizations have already announced postponements and cities and towns have declared parking bans.

The storm is expected to begin Tuesday morning in southern Maine and intensify Tuesday afternoon and evening. Snowfall during the evening hours will be heavy and accompanied by blustery winds that could gust up to 40 mph, Jensenius said.

“At this point, we’d be expecting near-blizzard conditions on the coast. Tuesday evening might be a good evening to stay inside if you can,” Jensenius said.

Temperatures won’t be extremely low – likely in the 20- degree range during the storm – and the texture of the snow won’t be sticky.

“At this point, it’s going to be a dry snow, not wet or sticky,” Jensenius said. “It’s definitely a nor’easter, based on the direction of the winds.”

He said it’s a little uncommon for a storm of this magnitude to arrive so late in the winter season. The first official day of spring is in a week, on March 20.

Even before Tuesday’s storm, the Portland area has received far more snow than average this winter through Saturday – 67.4 inches, compared with the average of 51.8 inches and the 2016 total to date of 41.5 inches.

For those tired of the snow and cold conditions, Jensenius offered some relief.

After the storm ends Wednesday morning, the forecast in Portland calls for Thursday and Friday to be sunny with high temperatures in the low 30s. Temperatures should climb on the weekend, with a high of 40 degrees expected Sunday.

Maine has been placed under a winter storm watch from 8 a.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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