With spring just a week away, Old Man Winter shows no signs of loosing his grip.

The second nor’easter in less than a week was expected to begin during the pre-dawn hours Tuesday and last throughout the day and into Wednesday, dumping 12 to 18 inches of snow over much of the state just five days after the previous storm blanketed Portland in 15.7 inches of snow.

The forecast prompted widespread cancellations and suspension of transportation on Tuesday, including at the Portland International Jetport, by Concord Coach Lines and the Amtrak Downeaster.

Bob Marine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said the weather system that will usher in Tuesday’s 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. The system gets shots of energy from the cold air off the mid-Atlantic states and coastal low-pressure systems develop. Sometimes the pattern is short-term and sometimes it can last a month. It can also break down very quickly.

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

If it’s any consolation, Michael Ekster, another meteorologist with the weather service in Gray, said this snow won’t be as wet and heavy as the last batch.

“There could be considerable blowing (of snow),” he said. “It’s not going to be as wet as last week’s nor’easter. There will be more fluff.”

Ekster said snow should start falling in Portland between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Tuesday.

According to weather service data, Portland is already far above the seasonal average for snowfall.

Marine said 75.5 inches of snow has been recorded in Portland this winter, which is 23.2 inches above the seasonal average of 52.3 inches.

Though it might feel as if the 17.3 inches of snow that’s fallen so far this month is a lot for March, there will be much more plowing and shoveling to be done before a record is set. Marine said 49 inches of snow fell in Portland during March 1993. The second snowiest March on record occurred in 1956, when 46.6 inches fell in the city.

“We’ve still got a ways to go before we break any records,” Marine said.

People were not waiting to see how Tuesday’s storm would play out on streets and public transportation.

Parking bans were declared Monday in several cities and towns, including Brunswick, Boothbay Harbor, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, Topsham, Windham and Yarmouth, to name a few.

Portland’s parking ban will take effect at 10 p.m. Tuesday and remain in effect through 6 a.m. Wednesday. Portland City Hall and all city-owned buildings will be closed Tuesday. The city issued a news release asking that residents who park on-street try to move their cars off city streets by 7 a.m. Tuesday, giving plow trucks the room they need to maneuver.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Boston warned mariners that conditions at sea will become extremely dangerous on Tuesday.

“Operation for any craft in the maritime environment will be dangerous, as there is high marine impact expected with 45-to-60-knot wind gusts and 20-foot seas,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Several school districts announced that classes had been canceled Tuesday.

Among the school district closings were: Auburn, Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Kittery, MSAD 61 (Lake Region School District), Old Orchard Beach, Portland, RSU 35 (Eliot and South Berwick), Wells-Ogunquit Community School District, Waynflete School in Portland and Saco schools.

Gardiner Area High School Principal Chad Kempton said the school walkouts, protests and assemblies scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. – the one-month anniversary of the school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – were up in the air due to the uncertainty about Wednesday’s weather.

If school is canceled Wednesday, Kempton said the walkout also would be canceled.

“We’re waiting to see what happens with the weather. We probably won’t know that until that morning,” said Kristen Levesque, assistant principal at Maranacook Community High School.

The Maine Legislature postponed all of Tuesday’s legislative hearings and work sessions and the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles canceled all driver’s license examinations.

The University of Southern Maine posted a statement on its website that all of its campuses will be closed Tuesday. The University of New England, with campuses in Portland and Biddeford, also announced it will be closed Tuesday.

Public transportation will be affected by the storm as well. The Amtrak Downeaster announced plans to suspend portions of its passenger rail service Tuesday, opting to cancel southbound trains 686 and 688 and northbound trains 687 and 689. Amtrak said it plans to operate full service on Wednesday, but said that plan could change if there are power outages or downed trees blocking tracks.

The Associated Press reported that Amtrak canceled Tuesday train service between Boston and New York City.

Concord Coach Lines canceled all of its bus service Tuesday due to the storm.

Out of 14 scheduled commercial jet arrivals Tuesday at the Portland International Jetport, all but two flights had been canceled by Monday evening. Only one scheduled departure Tuesday from the jetport was still on schedule – a 1:30 p.m. flight to New York City.

Not everyone was grousing about the stormy weather.

Shawnee Peak Maine, a ski resort Bridgton, posted this message on its Facebook page Monday: “And here we go! Open all day tomorrow, it’s gonna be great! See you manana. We know school and work will be canceled.”

“Everyone loves leftovers. Mother Nature bringing more of the main course soon,” Sunday River said in a Facebook post.

“Hope you stretched your quads. We’re in for another big one tomorrow,” Sugarloaf Mountain said in a Facebook message posted over a map of Maine showing projected snowfall totals.

The late winter snowstorms – spring begins next Tuesday – prompted National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Kimble to go digging into some ancient weather data. Record-keeping began in October 1881.

What he found was interesting.

“Looking at the list of the biggest March snowstorms in Portland we came across something ominous. Of the top 10 biggest March snowstorms, four of them have occurred on March 13 and 14,” Kimble wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend.

The biggest March snowstorm in Portland was 21.9 inches set on March 12-14, 1939, followed by 18.6 inches on March 13 and 14 in 1993. A total of 16.4 inches of snow fell in Portland on March 14-15 in 2017 – the sixth largest March storm on record.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Jessica Lowell contributed to this report.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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