An overnight storm covered central Maine in several inches of snow by Sunday morning, but freezing rain some expected to follow the snow largely stayed away.

Some freezing drizzle still fell on the area off and on Sunday, but officials said a larger batch of rain moving in toward the coast missed most of the central Maine area.

Roughly five inches of snow fell overnight in the area, but by mid-morning, precipitation had slowed or stopped and in some areas switched over to freezing drizzle.

For Julie Keaten, manager at Eaton Mountain, the snow was more than welcome after weeks without a storm.

The Skowhegan ski area is gearing up to have downhill skiing and snowboarding for the first time since 2006, but their original grand reopening this winter was delayed because of a lack of snow.

“We were starting to get nervous,” she said. “I’m all happy and smiling now.”

Keaten said they are hoping to start offering skiing next weekend if all goes well this week.

The drop in temperatures this past week also helped the mountain by making it cold enough to make snow, though they still need snowfall to build up the base.

Keaten said while Eaton Mountain makes snow, their business also embraces snowstorms like the one Saturday night, which she said brought about five inches of snow, because they get people in the mood for outdoor recreation.

“When we don’t have snow, no one thinks to come out. When people see that snow in their backyard, it triggers something and everyone wants to come out and play,” she said.

Meteorologist Chris Kimble of the National Weather Service said the Augusta and Waterville areas would both see mainly drizzle Sunday with less than a 10th of an inch of additional accumulation expected.

Kimble said travel conditions would largely depend on local road crews.

In Augusta main streets appeared fairly clear of snow and ice Sunday, though Jerry Dostie, street superintendent, said lesser-traveled side roads still had packed snow and ice on them.

Temperatures were expected to warm to above freezing because of a warm front moving in Sunday night.

However, Dostie said temperatures didn’t warm as quickly as he’d hoped. He said warmer temperatures would help get rid of the remaining snow and ice on side roads.

“We have some side streets with a fair amount of snow-pack and ice on them,” Dostie said. “It’s not warming up as quickly as they said it would. We did treat (roads with salt), but warmer temps would have helped.”

Augusta had a crew of workers in for much of the overnight Saturday into Sunday to plow and treat roads. Some workers were expected back in Sunday night to remove plowed up snow, including from the downtown area.

Dostie said the storm could have been worse, as initially more freezing rain was expected.

“We were fortunate we didn’t really see that, but it’s drizzling right now, and it’s still freezing,” Dostie said Sunday afternoon. “Fortunately, it’s a weekend, so not many people have been on the roads. The majority of people stayed home, which always makes it easier for us.”

The warming period, however, will be short-lived, as a cold front is expected to move in Monday.

“Basically we’re going to warm up tonight and then cool down tomorrow,” Kimble said Sunday. “This will be the end of above-freezing temperatures for a while. Tuesday there is a high of only 12 in Augusta. And Thursday a high of only 4.”

Kimble said that same basic weather pattern is expected farther north in the Waterville area as well.

State police Trooper Chris Rogers, on patrol in the central Maine area Sunday morning, said there had not been any major accidents.

The speed limit on the Maine Turnpike was lowered to 45 miles per hour for much of Sunday because of the weather, but was later restored to the regular limits.

Central Maine Power Co. reported no electricity outages Sunday afternoon.

Augusta and Waterville news

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