LEWISTON — It’s not even Thanksgiving, but snow is on the way.

A snowstorm bringing at least six inches to most of the state is forecast for Thursday night into Friday, and the early snowfall could bring about the first school cancellations.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Gray said snow would begin Thursday night, mainly after 9 p.m. It calls for the snow to continue through the night into Friday morning, with 4 to 6 six inches predicted in southern and coastal Maine, and 6 to 8 inches in central and western Maine.

In Augusta, 4 to 6 inches of snow are expected on Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures are forecast to be just below freezing, 31 degrees, on both days.

In Waterville, 6 to 8 inches of snow are expected.

Lewiston Public Works Director Dave Jones said Wednesday that he’s been preparing for between 4 and 7 inches, depending on how the storm tracks. He said crews at Public Works will be hooking up plows during the day Thursday and making sure equipment is running properly.

The department conducted a dry run in late October, when equipment was tested and plow operators drove their routes to prepare.

Jones posted the forecast on the Lewiston Rocks community Facebook page early Wednesday, writing, “Looks like our first plow-able snowstorm of the year is coming Thursday night into Friday. Are you ready? Your Public Works crew is and we will be out in force.”

Jones, who announced earlier this year that he is retiring in January after nearly 20 years in Lewiston, said the average first snowstorm of an inch or more is Nov. 27.

“This isn’t unusual to get snow in mid- to late November,” he said.

But, with Jones officially retiring on Jan. 9, he was hoping the snow would wait a little longer.

“I was hoping that the first storm would wait until Jan. 10, but that’s not gonna happen,” he said.

While last winter ended up bringing significant snowfall, only about 1 inch fell in November 2017. The record snowfall for the month of November, according to the National Weather Service in Gray, was about 24 inches in 1997.

Average snowfall in the Gray area for the month of November is 3 inches, and in Augusta it’s 4 inches. In northwestern Maine, however, places like Jackman and Rangeley have already seen between 8 and 10 inches.

The early winter weather was predicted by at least one source: the Farmers’ Almanac.

Farmers’ Almanac Managing Editor Sandi Duncan told the Sun Journal in August that the annual publication called for a cold and wet winter that could get an early start.

“The interesting thing is, it looks like winter might start a little bit early,” she said at the time. “We have some winter storms predicted early on.”

On Wednesday, almanac Editor Peter Geiger called the prediction a “teeth-chatteringly cold winter and plenty of snow.”

Local school administrators are already keeping a watchful eye.

Asked whether a school closure could be coming Friday, Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster said, “It certainly is a possibility. I don’t expect making the call until early Friday morning.”

But, he said, “I will be a little more cautious in making the decision for the first snowfall of the season as we are not yet acclimated to winter conditions.”

Auburn School Superintendent Katy Grondin groaned about a predicted snowstorm Friday, so early in the season.

“I’m nervous about a snow date before Thanksgiving. Is this the way our winter is heading?” she said.

But, Grondin said, she’s aware of the Farmers’ Almanac prediction in August that winter would come early this year and the season would bring lots of snow and cold.

“I’m in the mindset that we’ll be meeting often at 4:30 a.m.” this winter to decide whether there will be school, Grondin said.

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