AUGUSTA — A robust snowstorm moved into central Maine on Tuesday, prompting closures or early dismissals for many school districts, the shuttering of district courts and making driving slippery across the region as white flakes were expected to change over to freezing rain in the evening.

Late Tuesday morning, a weather-related car crash in Winslow near the Donald V. Carter Memorial Bridge involved a Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was responding to a call, according to officials at the scene. It wasn’t immediately clear whether injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service in Gray said most areas of central Maine were expected to receive 4 to 6 inches of snow, topped off with a crust of ice following periods of sleet in the evening. Communities in Somerset County and points north were forecast to receive 8 to 10 inches — even a foot of snow in central Somerset and Franklin counties.

Tuesday’s snow was on top of several inches that arrived Saturday into Sunday — the first measurable snowfall of the season.

Snow began falling early Tuesday morning in Augusta and continued steadily throughout the day as the temperature stayed cold, hovering in the mid-teens to low 20s. By the afternoon, the cold temperature had hung around, but meteorologist James Brown, from the National Weather Service in Gray, said a surge of warm air, mainly along the coast, was expected between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“The cold air is holding on a little stronger that we anticipated, so it worked out pretty good,” Brown said.

Brown said the weather service wasn’t receiving many snow totals, and he thought the service would have a better idea of the amount of snowfall by Wednesday morning. In MOunt Vernon, 2.5 inches of snow was reported around 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, the rain-snow line was stretching by the late afternoon from the Carrabassett Valley to Waterville and south to Portland, meteorologist Stacie Hanes said.

Around central Maine, school districts were either closed or sending students and their staffs home early. Meanwhile, the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta was closed for the day, and the district court in Waterville also was closed.

At Colby College in Waterville, grounds manager Doug Cosentino shoveled the steps of Miller Library as the snow came down.

“I’m not the only one out here shoveling,” Cosentino said. “I’ve got the whole crew working on clearing all some fourteen hundred steps at the college.”

Numerous accidents were reported on the state’s major routes and highways. The speed limit was reduced to 45 mph on the Maine Turnpike from New Hampshire to Augusta.

In Winslow, poor road conditions played a factor in a collision involving a deputy with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and another driver. The Winslow Police Department responded to a call at 10:56 a.m. about a crash at the intersection of Augusta Road and Carter Memorial Drive, where both vehicles had sustained disabling damage and the airbags had been deployed, according to Lt. Josh Veilleux, who was the officer assisting at the scene.

Veilleux said Deputy William Kulakowski, 25, was driving his 2015 Ford Explorer Police sport utility vehicle and was traveling northbound. At the time of the collision, the deputy was responding to an active assault call in Benton and was traveling with his emergency lights and siren on. Michelle Decosta, 30, of China, was driving west on Carter Memorial Drive with her two children, ages 8 and 5, in her 2014 GMC Acadia.

Veilleux said Decosta did not hear Kulakowski’s sirens or see his lights as she approached the intersection, where she had a green light. Kulakowski was slowing down for the red light when he saw Decosta’s vehicle coming into the intersection and slammed on his brakes. Both vehicles swerved and began sliding on the yet-to-be-plowed road, resulting in a collision.

Winslow Rescue and Delta ambulance checked out all four people, and no injuries were reported. The vehicles were towed from the scene.

In Somerset County, the sheriff’s office received a report of a traffic accident on Harmony Road in Athens in which a 2009 Chevy Cobalt, driven by Sara Morey, 24, of Oakland, was traveling south when her vehicle slid off the road at a curve and tumbled down an embankment, before rolling over and striking a tree.

Athens fire and Redington-Fairview General Hospital ambulance went to the scene. Morey was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

“Unless it is a necessity, people should restrict their travel until the storm has ended, allowing for the roads be cleared and sanded,” Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said.

Wednesday’s forecast for central Maine, according to Brown, calls for a chance of snow showers in the morning as the storm moves out of the region, and then partly sunny with temperature in the 20s the rest of the day.

Staff writers Emily Higginbotham and Doug Harlow contributed reporting.


Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


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