Tyler Wood, manager of ACE Hardware at Oak Hill Plaza in Scarborough, unloads a pallet of ice melter on Wednesday. Wood said business was brisk, with the forecast calling for a winter storm. “I think people are just preparing to hunker down,” he said. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

As much as a foot of snow was expected along the York County coastline Thursday, but it was expected to be dry and fluffy, reducing the risk of power outages, forecasters said Wednesday night.

About 6-8 inches of snow was forecast for Portland and the storm was expected to leave the area by Thursday afternoon, said meteorologist Hunter Tubbs of the National Weather Service in Gray. Areas just south of Portland were expected to get 9 to 10 inches of snow while northwestern Maine was expected to get only 1-2 inches.

Cold, dry air was expected to remain in place Wednesday evening, likely delaying the start of the storm until around 4 or 5 a.m. in Portland. But the storm was expected to quickly intensify, likely causing whiteout conditions in some areas of the state, Tubbs said.

“By then the ground will be very cold and the snow will stick,” he said.

“The heaviest amount of snowfall will be in the morning and could make for dangerous driving conditions,” Tubbs said. “The big difference, though, between this storm and the last storm will be the dry, light, fluffy snow. The risk for power outages will be a lot less.”

Tens of thousands of Mainers lost power Nov. 30 after a powerful rain and wind storm swept through the state knocking down trees and power lines. More than 150,000 lost power in a storm on Dec. 5 when heavy, wet snow combined with windy conditions.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency issued a warning Wednesday evening for Mainers to exercise caution, especially if they have to travel Thursday morning.

“Travel conditions could be very difficult with the snow and blowing snow impacting the commute (Thursday) morning and evening,” MEMA Director Peter Rogers said. “We’ve been planning with the key partners to ensure the safety of Maine residents and address issues that could arrive due to the storm.”

Temperatures were expected to dip into the low teens Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Homeowners concerned about running out of heating fuel should contact their fuel company as soon as possible and try to clear a path to fuel pipes and tank to expedite delivery, MEMA said. Lowering the temperature in your home may help conserve fuel, but MEMA warns that setting the temperature below 55 degrees could cause pipes to freeze.

A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service will remain in effect through 4 p.m. Thursday. The area affected by the snowstorm will range from Fryeburg to Belfast, with the heaviest amounts along the coast. Places such as Rumford and Rangeley may only get 2 or 3 inches of snow while Jackman may see less than an inch.

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