Mainers are on alert as second nor’easter in five days and the third nor’easter in two weeks is getting ready to blow into the region early Tuesday.

On Monday, the National Weather Service predicted that 12 inches to 18 inches of snow would fall across central Maine starting Tuesday morning into Wednesday, with worse weather conditions near the coast.

The snow and wind are likely to disrupt activities across the region mid-week and keep public works departments across the region hopping.

Because of the colder air accompanying this storm, National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Marine said this week’s snow will be more powdery, and not as heavy or wet as the snow that fell last week, and what falls from the sky will be all snow.

The snow is expected to start light and pick up intensity after a couple of hours. Measurable snow will start to accumulate between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

With the wind the storm is expected to bring, blowing and drifting snow is expected, he said.

“March can be a snowy month,” Marine said. “It’s not really unusual to get some snow during the month.”

The weather system bringing this storm is part of a repeating pattern, in which the jet stream lines up just right to drive cold air from the West Coast to the eastern seaboard, Marine said. The system gets shots of energy from the cold air off the mid-Atlantic states and coastal low pressure systems develop.

“One moves out and the next one moves in,” he said. “This series is about every four to seven days. We’re just on the wrong side of it.”

Sometimes the pattern is short-term event and sometimes it can last a month. And as suddenly as the pattern develops, he said, it can also break down.

The snow total forecast maps from the National Weather Service show that all parts of the state will get snow.

Announcements of storm-related cancellations started cropping up Monday afternoon.

Among the early cancellations for Tuesday is the Augusta Planning Board meeting scheduled for 7 p.m., Concord Coach Lines service all day, and all Bureau Motor Vehicles driver license examinations.

In Augusta, Tuesday’s opening night of Chizzle Wizzle, Cony School’s long-running variety show, has been canceled; tickets can be exchanged for performances on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Gardiner Area High School Principal Chad Kempton laughed Monday at the news of the coming storm.

“The running joke here is that every time I call a meeting, there’s a snowstorm,” Kempton said.

While no closure decisions had been announced as of midday Monday, Kempton said district officials at School Administrative District 11 are hoping to get in at least half a day on Tuesday, but that could create some logistical problems in getting everyone home during the day.

Still up in the air as of Monday afternoon were the status school walkouts, protests and assemblies scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.

Kempton said if school is canceled, the event would also be canceled.

“Nothing would take place (on another day), because that’s the day they picked,” he said.

At Maranacook Community High School where an assembly has been planned, Kristen Levesque, assistant principal said Monday after that it was too soon to know what would happen Wednesday.

“We’re waiting to see what happens with the weather. We probably won’t know that until that morning,” Levesque said.

The Maine Department of Transportation has already assessed its readiness for this latest storm.

“We have crew meetings to go over materials, equipment and crews,” department spokesman Ted Talbot said. “Everyone is ready to be called out.”

Readiness teams at Central Maine Power have been monitoring forecasts and positioning staff and equipment, company spokeswoman Gail Rice said.

Marine said after the storm subsides, snow showers and light snow will continue into Wednesday night. Both daytime and nighttime temperatures will be a little colder than average.

“There will be no storms at least through the weekend, and we would have some indication by now if there were,” he said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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