AUGUSTA — Weather forecasters said Thursday a slow-moving storm is expected to bring wind and rain to central Maine that could continue from Thursday night through Saturday morning.

In areas across central Maine, including Augusta and Skowhegan, between 3 and 4 inches of rain could fall.

Coupled with gusting winds of up to 35 mph, the storm is expected to bring down leaves that could create slippery driving conditions and clogged storm drains.

As of Thursday, a flood watch encompassing most of the state had been issued from 8 p.m. Thursday through 8 p.m. Saturday, as was a wind advisory for portions of south-central Maine from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

“This is a significant rainfall, and we are keeping our eye on the records,” said Sarah Thunberg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Gray.

The forecast calls for rain beginning in central Maine at about midnight Thursday and continuing through Saturday morning, Thunberg said.


The rain is the result of a cold front moving slowly through the region that is creating conditions likely to produce much rain.

“Generally, when we get a cold front, it just uses up the rain and the moisture that’s already in the atmosphere, ” Thunberg said.

With this system, she said, the air is coming straight up from the south and likely to feed the rain, creating more moisture as the cold front moves east across the region.

“The hose is not getting shut off,” she said. “It’s just going to keep supplying more and more moisture so the water is not going to be depleted from the atmosphere.”

The orientation of the system along the western mountains will only enhance the effect, and rainfall totals of 6 inches or more are in the forecast.

Chief Joshua Johnson of the Pittston Fire Department said there will be flooding if the region sees the amount of rain in the forecast.


“Hopefully, everybody’s got their loose trees and that sort of stuff cleaned up,” Johnson said. “That’s always a problem every year at this time.”

With the strong winds that are expected, he said, leaves will be stripped quickly from trees.

“Just like snow, if you have a road covered in leaves, it’s slippery when it’s wet,” Johnson said. “My hope is that everyone heeds the weather warnings and gets their provisions in order in advance and are able to stay off the roads and let the emergency crews do what they need to.”

Thunberg suggested Mainers put away lawn furniture, clean up and secure leaves and make sure storm runoff has pathways to get to drainage areas, streams and rivers.

“Drains are going to get clogged with leaves,” she said.

Leading up to the storm, Central Maine Power Co. was preparing this week to deploy both CMP line crews and retain contractors to respond to power outages, along with 105 tree crews to respond to outages.


Kerri Theriault, senior director of Electric Operations for CMP, said in a provided statement the electricity provider for central and southern Maine will monitor where the wind is strongest and position crews as needed.

“We have been communicating with local emergency management officials,” Therriault said, “to understand their priorities for road clearing in the event downed lines prohibit emergency vehicles as that is always our priority in responding.”

Art True, director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency, said the biggest concern from this storm is safety in the event of flooding. He cautioned people against walking or driving through flooded areas.

Thunberg said cold season storms differ from warm season storms.

Where summer storms tend to pop up with locally intense rainfall, the seasonal shift to cooler conditions bring storms that are more widespread. And in central Maine, autumn often ushers in large storms with historic rainfall.

In Augusta, for example, 6.66 inches fell over a two-day period beginning Sept. 17, 1999, Thunberg said. In 2005, 6.22 inches of rain fell Oct. 9, and in 2015, 5.71 inches rain fell Sept. 30, followed by about 4 inches the following day.

With this first major storm of the season, Johnson also advised people know how and where to use their generators in case of power outages. A top priority is preventing carbon monoxide from entering homes.

“Generator safety is a huge concern for us every year,” he said. “People get sick or worse because power goes out and they run their generators too close to the home or they put them in the garage.”

In those cases, the wind can blow carbon monoxide into homes, creating dangerous conditions.

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