MONMOUTH — The ground under the layer of snow in Jessie Sanborn’s yard is already frozen solid on some places, so she wasn’t able to set any stakes on Sunday.

“My daughter’s boyfriend has a tractor, and he plows,” Sanborn, 81, said. “He has to know where my flower bed is and where the wall is and where the front steps are.”

With or without stakes, he might have to plow some this week.

More than a month before the solstice marks the change of season from fall to winter, snow and unseasonably cold weather are expected this week.

Sanborn, who has lived in Monmouth for more than six decades, estimates she already has several inches of snow with Friday’s storm.

“With it being so early, we missed covering up the bushes,” she said.

That’s critical, because her metal roof sheds snow, and if she doesn’t take care her hydrangea, spirea and other flowering bushes will be crushed.

“It just packs down solid and you can’t shovel it,” she said.

On Sunday, her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend took care of that, so when more snow arrives this week, the bushes will be protected.

James Brown, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said three different systems will move through the area, the first as early as early Monday morning, all bringing some snow with them.

“All are looking so far like light events,” Brown said.

But by Wednesday night, a blast of cold air from the Arctic will push through Maine, dropping the temperature in the region to winter-like well ahead of the start of the season.

“Right now, we won’t be as cold every day after Thanksgiving Day, but we may end up exceeding the ‘minimax’ for the day,” he said.

That means the high temperature on Thursday may be lower than the record-low high for the day. But whether it could be established as a record is unclear.

“Technically, you can’t say it because there’s not a complete record,” Brown said.

The frozen ground and the advent of colder temperatures are welcome news just down the road from Sanborn, where Tom Langlois, 40, and three friends spent Sunday afternoon setting up an outdoor skating rink in Langlois’ back yard.

This will be the sixth year for the rink, built with tarps and walls like an above-ground pool to hold about 6,000 gallons of water pumped from a nearby body of water, and the four men were planning to finish the setup and fill it Sunday night.

“Ryan and I were talking about it and we looked at the weather this week,” he said, referring to Ryan Cote, who was straightening a wall on the far side of the rink.

Langlois, Cote and Trevor Knell, who was also working on the rink, are partners in Grateful Grain Brewing Co. They were joined Sunday by Jeff Chase in aligning the boards and pinning the tarps in place.

It’s a tradition that Langlois, who grew up in Lewiston with five older brothers, is carrying forward from his childhood.

Just across the yard, Langlois’ son Gus, and Cote’s sons Tom and Isaac, were making the best of the sledding hill, sliding as much on the oak leaves littering the ground as on the snow to hit a makeshift jump.

Gus Langlois, left, and Isaac Cote hit a snow jump Sunday at Langlois’ Monmouth home. The 11-year-olds sledded together while their fathers built a hockey rink for them. Staff photo by Andy Molloy

Langlois said they and their friends will be able to skate on it every day and play pickup hockey once it’s frozen, which they anticipate will happen on Thanksgiving. His daughters will also be able to come out and skate, although they don’t play hockey. One dances, the other plays basketball.

“If you hold at 10 degrees for 24 hours, it’ll freeze,” he said.

The timing of the snow is also factor. Snow before the water freezes is fine; snow after it freezes is problematic.

This is the earliest the rink has gone in. The latest, he said, was mid- to late-December.

While last winter’s deep freeze might have helped the ice formation for the rink, they didn’t put it up. Langlois and his partners had just launched the brewery and had no time. Plus, the odd weather, including temperature swings and rain, would not have helped.

For the balance of this week, the weather conditions are expected to favor ice formation at the outdoor rink.

Brown at the National Weather Service said, the temperature is supposed to be about 15 degrees below the normal November temperature, and by Thursday, it’s looking now like the temperature will be 20 degrees to 25 degrees below normal.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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