The first significant statewide snowstorm of the season brought slick conditions and prompted a substantial number of weather-related traffic accidents Saturday in central Maine.

The storm, which was poised to dump 4 to 6 inches of snow on the region Saturday and into Sunday morning, hit the Augusta-Waterville area in the early afternoon.

John Cannon, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, said the storm should last well beyond midnight but the snow would stop falling by daybreak, moving from southwest to northeast.

However, he said the storm might linger well into Sunday morning over the mountains in the Sugarloaf area.

The weather service also issued a winter weather advisory Saturday for the entire state, which means drivers should be prepared for winter driving conditions, such as travel difficulties and periods of low visibility. The Maine Turnpike Authority reduced the speed limit to 45 mph Saturday afternoon along the entire length of the tollway, from the New Hampshire state line to Augusta.

The snowy weather caused a substantial number of accidents Saturday and cars pulling off to the shoulder of the interstates and side roads, a dispatcher from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said. In Waterville, there were also several reports of accidents and cars sliding off the roads, but no significant injuries, city police Sgt. Lincoln Ryder said Saturday. He said there was one report of an accident that resulted in damage to a mailbox.

Ryder said that when the snow began to fall, the conditions were slick; but once public works came out to plow the streets and treat the roads, the conditions continued to improve as evening began.

“Be cautious,” Ryder advised. “We always want people to drive defensively.

Cannon, the meteorologist, said the snow is likely to remain on the ground until the next weather threat arrives on Tuesday, because the temperature is expected to stay in the low 30s for the next few days and the angle of the sun is low at this time of year. Cannon said Tuesday’s storm has the potential to bring several more inches of snow.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: EmilyHigg

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