MANCHESTER — The whipsawing weather conditions that broke a record for the low temperature in Augusta Friday and rebounded to produce rain Sunday afternoon are expected to plunge again into freezing territory in the first part of the week.

That poses a challenge for Robert Cunningham, who has set up a Christmas tree lot at Mulligan’s in Manchester. On Saturday, with snow falling and temperatures in the single digits, business was slow.

“There weren’t many people in the cold,” Cunningham, of Pittston, said. The bitter cold on Friday and Saturday and the snow on Saturday kept people home.

In all, Andy Pohl, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Gray, said 4 to 6 inches of snow fell across the region. Warming temperatures overnight Saturday into Sunday turned precipitation to rain and caused icing on vehicles and roads throughout central Maine before the ice started melting in late morning.

“That’s the good news,” Pohl said. “Then we have the bad news.”

A cold front pushing through the region Sunday evening was expected to push the temperature below freezing again, and by Monday’s morning commute, it’s expected to be in the single digits.

Pohl, who checked weather records Sunday, said Augusta’s low temperature of minus 9 Friday broke a record that had stood in the capital city since 1951, when the low bottomed out at minus 5 degrees.

And it’s not even winter yet.

Even so, the swing in temperatures has taken a toll on buildings. Following a broken water pipe that caused significant damage to the Waterville Public Library on Saturday, a pipe burst Sunday in City Center’s Lecture Room in Augusta, sending gallons of water through both it and the employee exercise room and a record storage room below it.

Augusta City Manager Bill Bridgeo, who happened to be passing the City Center around 10:30 a.m. on his way to take doughnuts to the city’s Public Works crews who had been out all night, saw the fire trucks at the city hall and stopped to see what had happened.

Workers using shop vacs and fans cleared up the mess Sunday, and an insurance adjuster is expected to assess the damage this week.

Bridgeo said electronic backups exist of some of the records damaged by water, and others are being dried out with the help of a dehumidifier.

“We won’t know what the damage is until we take a closer look,” he said, and it’s too soon to estimate the cost of the damage.

As for the Public Works Department, Bridgeo said it did as well as other departments around the region.

The weekend’s weather caused a rash of accidents across the region that stretched into Sunday.

Maine State Police Sgt. Blaine Bronson said more than a dozen accidents, mostly slide-offs, kept troopers occupied along the interstate corridors.

“Mostly the cause was poor tires or driving too fast,” Bronson said. In some cases, the vehicles were equipped with four-wheel drive, but the drivers weren’t using it. While four-wheel drive doesn’t work on ice, he said, it does work on Sunday’s slushy conditions.

While most accidents were minor, Blaine said a wreck on Interstate 95 northbound in Clinton sent a juvenile male to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville with a broken leg Sunday morning. Around 8:40 a.m., the driver of a vehicle lost control in front of a tractor trailer and was struck. The male driver, Bronson said, was not injured.

No accidents were reported in northern Kennebec County and into southern Somerset County Sunday.

In Augusta, police Sgt. Christian Behr said more accidents were reported Saturday than Sunday, but there were reports of wires down that seemed to be weather-related.

Central Maine Power showed no unusual outages during the day.

Pohl said temperatures are expected to moderate mid-week to usher in the start of winter at 5:44 a.m. Wednesday.

“The next system will come in on Thursday to Friday. The overnight lows Thursday will be around freezing, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

That system is likely to determine whether central Maine will have a white Christmas, he said.

In the meantime Cunningham, with his lot full of trees, said Sunday that last weekend should have been his busiest weekend, but it was not and he’s not sure why. By mid-afternoon Sunday, business appeared to be picking up with several groups of people stopping by to look over his selection.

In the final stretch to Christmas, he said he hopes to sell around 400 trees.

“It’s a fair business,” he said, “but you know year to year what it will be.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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