Mark Elwin sits in the sunshine with Baby Blue the dog Wednesday in front of the Kennebec River on the bulkhead in Hallowell’s Granite City Park. The ice had water on top of it in spots but was still in place covering the river in downtown Augusta and Hallowell in the early afternoon as temperatures soared to spring-like conditions in the 50s and 60s. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — A surge of warm air on Wednesday broke a temperature record in central Maine, but the balmy weather was expected to give way to colder temperatures and snow before the end of the week.

Even as the temperature in Augusta was reaching its peak, the National Weather Service in Gray was issuing a winter storm watch starting at 1 a.m. Friday for a storm making its way to New England.

How much snow will fall in Augusta and Waterville will depend on what track the storm follows.

The rollercoaster weather has emergency managers in the region keeping an eye on the Kennebec River and the state of the ice now covering it. Tuesday’s rain, along with warmer temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday that soared into the low 60s, were expected to contribute to rising river levels and ice movement.

“We’ll have to see what happens later (Wednesday),” said Sean Goodwin, director of Emergency Management for Kennebec County.

Goodwin said he spoke to the commercial smelt camp operators on the Kennebec River, and as of Wednesday, they were expected to pull their camps off the ice next week.


“I think they really wanted to catch the school vacation week,” he said.

Derek Schroeter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said some river levels have risen with the warmer weather, but there are no significant concerns for river flooding in the Augusta area.

On Wednesday, the halfway point of that vacation week, the temperature records in Maine were being rewritten.

“We’ll issue a formal record report at the end of the day,” Schroeter said midafternoon Wednesday. “But I can say the previous record for Augusta was 59 degrees set in 1990, and currently Augusta is sitting at 64 degrees.”

Even if the temperature were to rise before an expected cold front arrived later in the day, Schroeter said the record for the day had been surpassed.

That cold front, which had reached the White Mountains by midafternoon Wednesday, is expected to drop temperatures by 40 to 50 degrees to about 15 degrees Thursday morning.


And then about a day later, snow is expected to move northeast from the Ohio Valley into central Maine by about sunrise.

Schroeter said the current forecast is for 6-8 inches, with less snow falling farther north into Somerset County.

Under springlike temperatures, Sara Auclair, right, rides Sonja as daughter, Desirei, 14, rides Reign near their house Wednesday on Dexter Road in St. Albans. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

On its current track, the heaviest snow will fall south of central Maine, but if it shifts northward, Augusta and Waterville could receive about 10 inches of snow. Because the temperatures on Friday are expected to be in the 20s, the snow is not expected to be heavy or wet.

“It’s going to be a decent-sized storm,” Schroeter said. “I am fairly confident we won’t be dealing with any mixed precipitation in Augusta, so it will be all snow until about midnight Friday night.”

Following the storm, a slight warm up will happen on Sunday, but colder temperatures are expected to return Monday.

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