Central Maine is expected to ring in the new year with a storm predicted to deliver between 6 and 10 inches of wet, heavy snow and sleet by Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

Local emergency officials said slick travel conditions could affect people’s holiday plans, but local road crews were trying Monday to get ahead of the storm.

Sean Goodwin, director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency, said state and Augusta road crews were salting and sanding by about 2 p.m. Monday.

Temperatures on Tuesday are expected to be in the low 30s during the day and dip into the mid-20s at night.

A winter storm warning went into effect at about 1 p.m. Monday in central, northern and western Maine, and was expected to be lifted at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Ahead of the storm Monday, state offices closed at 3 p.m. and the University of Maine at Augusta at 4 p.m.

Goodwin said temperatures in the 20s lead to thick snow, which is harder to clean for road crews. He said the wet snow could stick to power lines, weighing them down and making it easier for wind gusts to bring down the lines.

Central Maine Power Co. said Monday afternoon the company is bringing in help from Connecticut to prepare for “mixed storm impacts.”

“While winter storms do not necessarily lead to outages, we are closely monitoring how wet and heavy the snow may be inland, as well as the probability of mixed precipitation on the coast, and how those conditions could lead to the potential for broken tree limbs falling on power lines,” said Kevin Elwell, CMP’s director of electric distribution.

“We are working to stage our employee and contractor crews for the most efficient response given this scenario.”

Tony Laplante, director of the Gardiner Public Works Department, said his crews would be reacting to whatever mixed precipitation the storm delivers. He said the region will likely miss some of the freezing rain that will hit other areas of Maine, but sleet could hamper cleanup efforts.

“I’m expecting snow, mainly until early morning tomorrow, and then it looks like sleet’s going to slide its way in,” Laplante said. “It just depends on how much sleet you get, because that does create a bit of a headache.”

Sunshine is expected Wednesday in much of central Maine, with temperatures reaching 36 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Sam Shepherd — 207-621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME


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