Snow lovers hoping to be walloped with snow from a weekend Nor’easter probably will have to settle for just a few inches.

Meteorologist Chris Kimble, of the National Weather Service in Gray, said forecasters still are trying to nail down what kind of precipitation will fall, when and for how long.

“At least part of it’s going to be snow,” Kimble said, “but there could be some sleet moving in.”

The introduction of sleet will affect snow totals, which Kimble expects to be 3 to 6 inches in the Augusta area. The snow probably will be wet, as the temperature is expected to rise to slightly above freezing.

“There’s always the potential for more, but that’s our best guess right now,” Kimball said.

More snow would be welcome by skiers and snowshoers, many of whom have been out and about this week after the first significant snowfall of the season. A Tuesday night storm brought about 7 inches to the area.

“Conditions aren’t bad, given what we’ve had for weather,” said Andy McEvoy, forest and recreation specialist for the Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson, which offers cross country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. “We are hoping this storm this weekend turns into mostly snow.”

McEvoy said Thursday morning that he’s heard a range of forecasts, from rain and sleet to nearly a foot of snow.

“I learned about three years ago it’s a bad idea to count on weather conditions,” he said. “It’s better to be prepared and then react.”

There is about 5 inches of snow on the ground at Hidden Valley, McEvoy said. That’s not enough to groom, but cross country skiers and snowshoers have cut their own trails. Even with just a few inches on the ground the conditions are still better than they were at this time last year, McEvoy said.

“We spent all of January last year without snow, more or less,” he said. That changed in late January when the region was hit by a blizzard that dropped a couple of feet of snow. “Our visitors are ready for snow, but we’re making do with what we have,” McEvoy said.

Mark DesMeules, director of Viles Arboretum in Augusta, said there has been a burst of cross country skiers since Tuesday’s storm. The conservancy is flush with powder.

“They’re terrific,” DesMeules said of the conditions. “There are a few wind-blown (bare) spots, but it’s not enough to discourage anyone. We’ve had lots of skiers here.”

DesMeules is hoping for a blast of snow this weekend so the arboretum can break out the grooming equipment.

“I’m hearing 5 to 8 (inches) for the weekend, but because there are a number of fronts involved, they’re hedging their bets,” DesMeules said.

DesMeules said the warm weather that until recently created a dearth of snow has not slowed ticket sales for the arboretum’s annual table tour. The tour, set for Feb. 7, allows skiers and snowshoers to trek into the woods to sample delicacies prepared by city restaurants.

“It’s good strong sales,” DesMeules said.

Kimble said the weekend storm should reach the Augusta area late Friday night and remain through Saturday. Sunday will be partly cloudy with a high of 31, he said. No other significant storms are expected.

“I don’t see anything major heading our way, at least not until maybe next weekend,” Kimble said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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