Suzanne Debiase of Madison selects a snow shovel Tuesday while shopping at Renys in Madison. Debiase said she would “keep the shovel by the door,” as she prepares for a storm that was expected to bring wet, heavy snowfall followed by a wintry mix and rain. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Here we go again: fears of flooding, strong wind gusts and power outages ahead of a wet winter storm.

Much of Maine on Tuesday was bracing for the storm expected to arrive overnight and continue into Wednesday, with communities in central Maine forecasted to see several inches of wet snowfall before temperatures warm and the precipitation changes to rain.

“The timing of the changeover to rain, with wet snow on trees and powerlines with wind, is a bad thing,” Sean Goodwin, who heads the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency, said Tuesday.

Anywhere from 4-7 inches of fresh snowfall is expected for most of Kennebec County when the flakes start flying around 9 p.m. Tuesday, said Jon Palmer, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Gray.

That wet, heavy snow could fall an inch an hour during the night before changing over to a wintry mix and then rain by around 3-4 a.m., Palmer said.

A little over 2 inches of rain and melted snow is expected at that point for the Augusta-Waterville area, he said, with precipitation winding down between 1-3 p.m. Wednesday.


While meteorologists didn’t expect this storm to be as damaging as the Dec. 18 storm that knocked out power to more than a half-million people statewide and brought historic flooding to the Kennebec River valley, there are some similarities.

Forecasts expect wind gusts of 50-55 mph in the greater Augusta area, which is just as powerful as the winds that accompanied the December 2023 storm.

“The wind gusts could be pretty bad. Probably we’re most worried about winds in Kennebec County,” Palmer said. “It’s generally a good expectation for anyone in the county to see a 50 mph wind gust. With a combination of high winds and heavy, wet snows clinging onto branches, we could see a lot of trees and wires down.”

In a news release Monday, Central Maine Power Co. said its storm response and tree care crews were preparing for the weather event.

“We have been monitoring this winter storm since late last week and have already secured additional line and tree crews, which will be pre-staging Tuesday night.” Jon Breed, spokesperson for Central Maine Power, said in the release. “We have seen several winter storms this season, with tree damage and motor vehicle accidents being some of the most common causes of power outages. With another storm on the way, we urge caution if anyone needs to travel on Wednesday as conditions will likely be hazardous throughout the day.”

Atlantic Power Constructors, a Bangor-based utility construction company, has a parking lot full of bucket trucks in Augusta on Tuesday in preparation for a storm forecasted to bring snow, rain and strong wind gusts to the region on Wednesday. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

There is a big difference with this storm and the December storm, though: temperatures are expected to remain much colder, particularly in the mountains, which will prevent rapid snow melt from the higher elevations into rivers.


“That will actually spare us a lot from any sort of catastrophic flooding we saw from the previous storm,” Palmer said. “The mountains are generally going to stay colder and the snowpack isn’t going to give way. So, the winds are generally going to be comparable to what we saw on the 18th but the flooding shouldn’t be nearly as bad as what we saw in December.”

Maine Gov. Janet Mills answers questions Tuesday about the upcoming storm during the 83rd annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center. Organizers of the trades show delayed the start time of Wednesday’s programming until noon because of the weather. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday afternoon delayed the opening of all state offices until noon Wednesday, urging commuters to be cautious on the roads. At the Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday, Mills urged people to take precautions for what she called a “dangerous situation.”

“Stay off the roads if you can,” Mills said.

In Augusta, city officials planned to close the north end of the Front Street parking lot, which is near the Kennebec River, on Wednesday at 6 a.m. In the event of flooding in the Front Street lot, city officials said they would try to contact the owners of any parked vehicles in danger of being flooded.

At the same time, fire departments across the region spent Tuesday in storm preparations.

In Richmond, Fire Chief Steve Caswell noted that this winter the storms are coming back to back.


“We’re going to be checking saws, and getting out cones and barricades,” Caswell said. “We’re going to work on some staffing, coordination with Richmond Public Works, getting prepared for trees, lines to be down.”

The Sun Rayz business sign contrasts a chilly backdrop as a maintainer keeps Route 201 open in Skowhegan during snowfall on Sunday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Farther north in Somerset County, the forecast calls for higher snowfall totals of up to a foot in some areas before the storm switches over to rain Wednesday morning.

Mike Smith, the county’s emergency management director, said officials are monitoring potential impacts to the region, which forecasters say could include power outages and flooding.

“We’re just kind of monitoring at this point,” Smith said. “We’ve been forwarding out all the information as we get it to our towns and our EMA directors and our fire chiefs, and making sure that everybody has it for situational awareness.”

Kennebec Journal reporters Jessica Lowell and Keith Edwards and Morning Sentinel reporter Jake Freudberg contributed reporting. 

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