Raindrops continue falling Wednesday in a large puddle in the parking lot of a closed Hannaford grocery store in Gardiner. The store is still closed for repairs after it was flooded by a storm last month. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

As a powerful storm with strong wind gusts and a snow-to-rain changeover swept across the state on Wednesday, scattered power outages were being reported and some local school districts opted for two-hour delays or cancellations.

The storm, which rolled into the region Tuesday night with several inches of fresh snow, brought warmer temperatures into the low 40s as rain fell overnight and created a slushy mix on the ground.

By early Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service in Gray had recorded wind gusts of 51 mph in Augusta. The steady rain continued throughout the morning but had all but ended by noontime, as sunshine and 50-degree temperatures arrived in its wake. The weather service reported around 3-5 inches of snow fell across central Maine before the storm changed over to heavy rain.

Early precipitation reports show that most areas across central Maine received about 2 inches of rain, with some variation across the region; Windsor received the most, at 2.14 inches.

And while the daytime temperatures across the region were expected to reach the high 40s in Augusta, that was not high enough to break the record of 52 degrees, which was set in 2016.

Vehicles splash through puddles Wednesday on Water Street in downtown Hallowell. The National Weather Service had issued a flood warning for urban area and small stream flooding caused by rain and snowmelt. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Central Maine Power reported nearly 35,000 outages statewide at its peak out of its 674,000 customers. About 3,300 outages were initially reported in Kennebec County and by mid-day nearly all of the county’s customers had power back. Cumberland, Lincoln and York counties were reporting the highest outage totals.

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Over the course of the morning the number of outages dropped steadily throughout the region, according to Sean Goodwin, who heads up the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency.

Gardiner closed Waterfront Park until further notice because of a minor flooding risk; it was one of the few inland communities to limit access to public areas because of hazardous conditions.

Somerset County appeared to avoid the worst of the storm’s impact this time around.

It was a “relatively quiet morning,” with no major road issues and very few power outages reported as of 11 a.m., said Mike Smith, the county’s emergency management director. CMP was reporting only four outages in the county at that time.

To accommodate her poodle, Emma, 12, Esta shovels slush Wednesday from her lawn at the house they share in Waterville. Esta, 75, says Emma does not like to walk on snow and ice. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

And forecasters are not anticipating any major flooding impacts to the area once the storm wraps up, even with the snowmelt adding the equivalent of an additional inch or so of rain, Smith said.

Meanwhile, local school districts were taking different approaches to the storm. The Augusta School District canceled classes for Wednesday, whereas others such as Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18 and Fairfield-based School Administrative District 49 announced two-hour delays, with SAD 49’s Albion Elementary School closing for the day because of a power outage. Winthrop schools had made the announcement a day earlier that Wednesday would be a remote learning day for its students.

Cars travel Wednesday through water on Western Avenue caused by rainfall and snowmelt in Augusta. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Another storm is on track to hit the region early Saturday, with a similar pattern of snow turning to rain with gusty winds.

Jon Palmer, a meteorologist with the Gray office of the National Weather Service, said that storm is expected to be weaker than the mid-week storm, with perhaps 2-5 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 35 mph.

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

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