A Colby College student walks through the quad in front of Miller Library as snow falls Tuesday in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

A storm that’s predicted to pack the biggest punch yet this season could bring as much as a foot of fresh snow to the central Maine region on Saturday, capping a week that’s already been battered by wintry systems.

The National Weather Service in Gray on Friday had issued a “winter storm watch” for the Augusta and Waterville areas, saying heavy snow was predicted with 5-11 inches of snow possible. Southern areas of the state were forecast to get a foot or more, as the storm accumulations lessen into Somerset County and points north.

Snowfall was expected to start during the wee hours Saturday morning, with the heaviest accumulations coming during the morning daylight hours as wind gusts reach 35-40 mph, and snow showers tapering off into the evening.

Greg Cornwell, a meteorologist for the weather service in Gray, said the storm is “kind of” like a nor’easter with an easterly flow to the wind, but not a classic one. The snow should be on the light, fluffy side in central Maine, becoming wetter closer to the coast, he said.

“Visibility will be reduced dramatically and with the snow rates we’re forecasting, crews out on roads may not be able to keep up with every single road out there,” Cornwell said. “It will be a good idea to stay put.”

The storm’s arrival is coming at a hard time for local plow truck drivers who have been on the roads all week with other storms, said Paul Fongemie, Winslow’s public works director.


“There’s only so much we can do,” Fongemie said Friday morning. “We’ll have eight plows out on the road and they’ll do what they can. It’ll be a really big storm, so we’ll probably start putting side streets on second priority and concentrate more on main drags. … We’ve been out three, four times already this week and today I got everybody washing trucks, getting them reloaded and mixing sand and salt.”

That challenging week has also played out in Hallowell, where police wrote in a Facebook post that a woman was in labor at a home at the height of Thursday’s snowy weather. Rescue crews were slowed by the treacherous road conditions, but interim police Chief Christopher Giles was nearby and able to assist the woman, who had just given birth, before ambulance crews arrived to stabilize the new mother and baby.

“The director of public works brought all crews to the home and they immediately cleared the snow with plows and shovels,” the police department wrote. “Once this was done they laid down a layer of sand for traction. Now that the way was cleared they were able to get the ambulance in to transport mom and baby to the hospital.”

Looking ahead, Fongemie said his Winslow plowing crew will need to decide whether to keep going into Saturday night as the storm winds down or pick it up again Sunday morning.

“It’s been a long week,” he said. “All we can do is hope for the best.”

Meanwhile, the storm has wrecked plans for the high school basketball state championship games, with postponements pushing the matches from Saturday until next week.

The weather service did not have snowfall data for Augusta. But for Portland, Maine’s most populous city, the snowfall for the season stood at 43.6 inches as of Friday, compared to a normal total of 53.5. If Saturday’s forecasts come true, though, Cornwell noted that snowfall totals will be back up to normal levels.

After the storm clears out Saturday, the forecast calls for a partly sunny day on Sunday with high temperatures rising above freezing to near 40 degrees.

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