On May 11, 1945, much of Maine and three other states was covered with a blanket of snow, an unwelcome spring surprise.

While spring seems to have gained only a tenuous foothold across the region this year, the cool, wet weather doesn’t compare to the news-making May snowstorm more than seven decades ago.

News accounts of the time billed it as the worst New England May storm in history; it snowed in four states.

Across the region, snowfall totals tell the tale: Waterville, 8 inches; Gardiner, 10 inches; Farmington, 9 inches; Madison, 7.2 inches; the east outlet of Moosehead Lake, 7.8 inches, Jackman, 13.6 inches; and Portland, 10 inches.

Tom Hawley, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service office in Gray, said he found no record for Augusta because it’s likely the city had no cooperative weather observers reporting data at that time.

“As I recall,” he said, “we had a gentleman, one of our old-timers, who lives in Livermore Falls who remembers that storm. There were a lot of power outages. ”

The storm still holds the record for the latest snowfall in Maine.

“It’s rare to get snow that late, especially for towns like Augusta and Portland,” Hawley said, and even for western Maine towns such as Jackman and Eustis, which also received 13.6 inches of snow.

While no snowfall is in the forecast for this week, conditions are expected to remain cool and damp, including on Mother’s Day.

Chris Legrow, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said rain is expected over the weekend across central Maine.

“We have precipitation we expect to start moving in during the day on Saturday, with the most concentrated and heavy rain falling Saturday night into Sunday,” he said, adding that perhaps an inch or more of rain is expected.

Legrow said he doesn’t anticipate any flooding, but that depends on how much rain actually falls.

“At this time of year, the pattern tends to get very stuck and it’s hard to move things along,” he said. “We have been on the bad side of that, and it’s hard to push through.”

Since May 1, central Maine has received 1.68 inches of rain, about a half-inch more than average. Since March 1, he said, the region has received 9.15 inches, just under an inch more than what’s considered normal.

Because of that, the drought that affected the region has been alleviated, he said. The latest drought update on May 2 showed the only areas still affected by drought are Downeast Maine and far southern New Hampshire.

“There are some signs this pattern will start breaking down,” he said. “Certainly by the last third of the month, we should be able to salvage something of the spring.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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