New snow shovels in a variety of shapes and a rainbow of colors are available for purchase Friday at Audette’s Hardware in Winthrop. The forecast is calling for a weekend snowstorm. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

WINTHROP — With snow expected in central Maine starting early Sunday and two more storms expected in the next week, area residents were in preparation mode Saturday.

A steady stream of people passed through Audette’s Hardware, where shovels were on prominent display.

But shoppers had their eye on other supplies like batteries, propane and kerosene for heaters, Nikki Chase, a cashier at Audette’s, said.

“Some shovels, but more of power outage stuff,” Chase said. “Everyone’s talking about the Wednesday storm.”

Following a warm and stormy December, an active weather pattern with colder temperatures is expected in Maine this week.

Starting late Saturday, snow spreading up from the south was expected to reach central Maine by early Sunday morning.


While the southern part of the state is expected to see the worst of it, Saturday’s forecast for Kennebec and Somerset counties into Sunday called for 2 to 6 inches to fall across central Maine, with higher accumulations across the southern part of that area.

“We’re looking at some dry air to the north that will keep accumulations lower,” said Derek Schroeter, meteorologist in the Gray office of the National Weather Service.

Albert Belz shops for a new snow shovel Friday at Audette’s Hardware in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The snow is expected to be light, dry and fluffy, with some blowing and drifting courtesy of some northeast winds that are not expected to be strong, with peak gusts of about 25 mph for the Augusta area.

Once the first storm moves through Sunday afternoon, forecasters are watching another storm that’s expected to arrive Tuesday night with snow and then likely to turn to rain Wednesday.

“It will change from snow to rain pretty quickly across southern portions of the state, and that rain-snow line will likely push northward through the day Wednesday,” Schroeter said. “But how far north and how fast it will push is still uncertain at this time.”

That storm is expected bring some strong south-to-southeast winds with that storm, with stronger winds along the coast.


“The wind potential depends, (it) will rely on how warm we get, and that has to do with our rain-snow line, so that’s all in question yet,” he said.

While strong winds, especially along the coast, and heavy rain are both possible with the midweek storm, he said it is not expected to be as powerful as the Dec. 18 storm.

Forecasters are also tracking a third storm that is shaping up to possibly arrive by the end of the week.

This first storm will be the second-latest date for 1 inch or more of snowfall for Portland, Schroeter said, noting that there is no snowfall observation record for Augusta.

“It’s a remarkable statistic for the state of the winter that we’ve seen so far,” he said.

Late or not, the first snowfall of the year will usher in the chance for winter recreation and officials are urging caution for those eager to get out and play.


The snow pack that started to accumulate in November and December was washed away by the rain and warm temperatures that came in mid-December.

Albert Belz shops for a new snow shovel Friday at Audette’s Hardware in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

On Friday, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife issued an advisory about ice conditions, which can vary even across a single body of water, throughout the state.

The department advises checking ice thickness with a chisel or an auger before heading out onto the ice to verify the thickness. A fresh coat of snow can hide areas where hazards exist and it’s best to venture out onto the ice with ice safety picks and a partner.

“The ice thickness isn’t safe enough for people to venture out on,” Schroeter said.

Snow cover can act as an insulator, so even though temperatures will be at freezing or below, the ice won’t thicken as quickly as it would with no snow cover on it.

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