AUGUSTA — In the hours before a nor’easter was expected to bring about a foot of snow to central Maine, public safety and utilities officials were preparing for the storm as a bevy of closures and cancellations were announced.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service office in Gray updated its forecast for the storm, shifting higher expected snowfall totals and stronger wind closer to Maine’s coast.

Michael Cempa, meteorologist with the weather service, said because the storm is moving farther east and the temperature is expected to be a little colder, the snowfall totals in central Maine will be closer to 1 foot, down from earlier estimates of 12 to 18 inches.

Snow fall totals near the coast will be higher, Cempa said, and could reach up toward the 18-inch range, and it will be a wetter, heavier snow.

Closer to the mountains, beyond Skowhegan and Norridgewock, the snow is expected to be lighter and fluffier, with expected accumulations of 8 to 12 inches.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, the snow already had started falling in Gray. Cempa said snow was expected to increase in intensity overnight.


“The heaviest snow will be over with sometime mid-morning, but there will be light snow falling across the region during the day,” Cempa said.

Wind will accompany the storm, with the strongest gusts near the coast. In central Maine, some gusts may reach 25 mph to 30 mph, he said.

Shortly after noon Wednesday, the Augusta Police Department issued a citywide parking ban from 6 p.m. Wednesday through noon Friday. During the ban, any vehicle parked on a city street will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Augusta city officials canceled the city’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting Wednesday and announced city offices and the Lithgow Public Library would be closed Thursday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Augusta City Council meeting on Thursday still was expected to take place.

Officials across the region pushed out announcements Wednesday about town office closures expected Thursday, including Skowhegan and Pittston. In Richmond, an overnight parking ban was announced Wednesday afternoon.

The University of Maine at Augusta announced it would close at 4 p.m. Wednesday and remain closed Thursday.


Officials at Central Maine Power Co. started planning for the storm earlier this week, company spokeswoman Gail Rice said, even as they were continuing their response to the windstorm that struck the southern part of the state last week.

“We have been lining up contractors and staging them in various parts of our service area,” she said. “We make sure our inventories are ready to go and our employees are ready to be working on storm damage.”

Susan Faloon, spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said her agency also is preparing to respond if needed.

“One thing we have already been involved in is facilitating getting Canadian line crews across the border to help out,” Faloon said.

Working with county emergency management agencies, MEMA would be able to help getting the word out if warming centers are needed, or would be able line up emergency generators.

“At this point, people are pretty done with winter,” she said. “They are done stocking up on supplies, but that’s not where we want to be. That’s where mistakes are made.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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