A nor’easter is expected to descend on central Maine, dumping more than a foot of snow in Kennebec, Somerset and Franklin counties.

“We are expecting a widespread 12-18 inches, really, for Waterville and up through Franklin and Somerset counties as well,” said Michael Clair, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray. “Quite a first storm.”

Clair said just Saturday morning that projected snow amounts would drop off east of Waterville and toward the mid coast.

Snow is expected to continue into Saturday evening and after midnight and should be mostly over with by sunrise Sunday, according to Clair.

“It looks likely by the afternoon, we’ll see some breaks of sun and it will be breezy tomorrow, still,” Clair said.

As the snow falls on Saturday and into the evening, road conditions are expected to quickly deteriorate with snow sticking to the roads, he said.

By 11:45 p.m. Saturday, the storm had knocked out power to 180,053 Central Maine Power customers.

“Tonight, winds will be gusting at about 35 mph, reducing visibility overnight tonight, mainly after sunset,” he said.

Kennebec County is projected to receive 12 to 15 inches by 7 a.m. Sunday, according to Clair.

The snow started early Saturday afternoon and was expected to fall at 1 to 3 inches per hour.

“Once it changes to snow, the conditions will deteriorate and the roads will become snow covered,” Clair said.

Clair advises that people stay off the roads, especially after dark.

“We are expecting the winds to pick up and it will make travel more difficult,” he said. “The heavy snow fall rates will become hazardous.”

Lesly Jones, director of Augusta Public Works, said on Friday that the office was in the process of calling the plow drivers that afternoon and said that they always have to “prepare for the worst.”

“We have all of our stuff ready,” she said. “All of the plows are mounted to the trucks.”

Kennebec County EMA Director Sean Goodwin said that he is most concerned about what may happen with the power lines, especially after the rain storm that caused power outages to the area in the beginning of the week.

“The freezing wet snow adds weight to the branches” he said, adding he has been in close contact with Central Maine Power in preparation.

Matt Skehan, director of both the public works and parks and recreation departments in Waterville, said Saturday that crews were ready for the storm.

“We’re definitely prepared for this,” he said.

Skehan said he and public works supervisor Karl Morse met with crews and told them to go easy, take their time and be really careful because it is early and the ground is soft.

“We’re hoping to get things cleaned up as soon as we can,” Skehan said.

The city of Waterville recently reinstated an ordinance prohibiting vehicles from parking on streets in the winter from midnight to 6 a.m. but the ban was extended to 9 a.m. Sunday because of the timing of the storm, according to Skehan.

“So that would be the big message from our department and police,” he said. “It’s important that people abide by that and it gives us the ability to do things as efficiently as we can and get everything cleaned up.”

After 9 a.m. Sunday, people may start parking on streets, as well as in areas such as The Concourse, a large parking lot downtown, according to Skehan. He said it takes three or four hours after a storm ends for workers to get everything cleared away.

Though the parking ban starts at midnight Saturday, Skehan said if people remove their vehicles earlier than midnight it would be helpful to crews plowing snow.

“It would make it much easier for us to do our job,” he said.

Skowhegan Road Commissioner Greg Dore said Saturday that his department has been going over equipment to make sure it is ready for the storm.

“The crew went over their routes yesterday, marking obstacles and refreshing themselves,” Dore said. “We’ve discussed our plan of attack and are prepared for picking up snow downtown after the storm. The crew knows that this will be one of those storms that we’ll need to stay with, so hopefully they’re getting some rest.”

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