A dangerous wintry commute on Thursday and possible power outages later this week are in the forecast, as back-to-back storms are expected to bring up to a foot of fresh snow to central Maine Wednesday night into Friday.

Sarah Thunberg, a meteorologist with The National Weather Service Office in Gray, said that it’ll feel to people like one persisting snowstorm with a brief lull on Thursday night, but said experts are treating the storm as two separate systems. Beginning midnight Wednesday, Thunberg said that a first storm will bring an estimated 6-8 inches of snow to Kennebec County by the end of Thursday. On Thursday night, the snow will taper off, she said, and then start up again with the second system on Friday.

Of total snowfall for the Friday storm, Thunberg said: “I would say an additional 2 to 4 (inches) isn’t a bad estimate, but that estimate is highly uncertain because there’s so much happening before then.”

That could mean up to a foot of fresh snow for some areas, following a relatively snow-free February so far that has seen extreme temperature see-sawing. Augusta set a record for mild temperatures on Thursday, Feb. 16, when thermometers hit a spring-like 55 degrees by the afternoon. Less than two weeks before that, Augusta set a record for its coldest low temperature on that date when an arctic air mass plunged temperatures to minus 16 degrees on Friday, Feb. 3, to say nothing of a wind chill making it feel like minus 40.

High temperatures are forecast to be in the teens and 20s during the snowfall, with lows dipping to single-digits and near-zero by Friday.

Thunberg advised drivers to take extra precautions on Thursday’s commute, particularly along highways like the Interstate 95 corridor, as roads might be slippery from sleet. She said we can also expect elevated wind gusts later this week at up to 25 to 30 mph.


Lesley Jones, Augusta’s director of Public Works, said Tuesday that her trucks are ready for the weather event. But with a “long duration” storm such as this lasting across three days, she said her office’s main concern aside from clearing roads is staffing.

“Long duration is always the hardest for us because we have to have people here for almost the whole event,” she said, “We’ll be making sure (staff) get home for adequate rest.”

Jones said that people should try and stay home if possible. And if on the road Thursday through Friday, drivers should allow extra space for plow trucks, as they have slower response times and take up a lot of the road, she said.

Thunberg also said power outages are possible in the region, but it’s less likely in central Maine than in more southwest regions of the state where there will likely be more freezing rain than snow.

CMP spokesperson Jon Breed said Tuesday that in anticipation of the storms, the company has increased overnight coverage at their service centers and pre-staged additional crews to respond to any outages that may occur from Wednesday.

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