News Center Maine

AUGUSTA — As central Maine hunkers down for a large late-season snowstorm, officials are urging caution as wet snow and high winds are expected to cause power outages, downed trees and clog roadways.

Michael Clair, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said Tuesday the spring storm will blow in Wednesday afternoon, bringing anywhere between 12 to 18 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 40 mph to Kennebec and Somerset counties.

After a relatively mild winter in terms of snow, this week the region is expecting its second major snowstorm of the spring, with some areas expecting up to 18 inches. Above, a loader operator plows January snow in a parking lot at The Marketplace At Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

“This storm looks like one of the biggest, most widespread we’ve seen this year,” Clair said. “It’s spring, so the snow is going to be pretty wet, so it’s going to be sticking to everything. The biggest concern, more than anything, is with snow sticking to trees and wires, causing power outages and closing roads.”

Snowfall is expected to linger for a few days, with snow continuing into late Friday and possibly Saturday. While the rain-snow line is expected to fall along Maine’s coastal communities and bring the hardest winds with it, Clair said central and southern Maine will likely see the most snow.

The storm comes after a nearly record setting warm and wet March. In both Augusta and Portland, precipitation totals were more than 6 inches above average, making last month the second wettest March in both cities since records started being kept in 1871.

Central Maine Power is preparing for widespread outages across the state, according to company spokesperson Jonathan Breed. While CMP is still monitoring conditions, Breed says it has hundreds of additional lineworkers and tree crews that will be called in on Wednesday if necessary.


“We’re planning for messy weather, but we monitor up until the last moment and then we bring in additional resources,” he said. “Think back to Hurricane Lee: We were looking at one thing 24 hours out and then overnight there was a bit of a shift to where the impacts were lesser, so we could still see this one move around a little bit as we get closer.”

CMP is expecting outages to peak Wednesday night and into Thursday with a potential dayslong recovery effort afterward depending on how severe the storm is, Breed said.

In Somerset County, officials say they are expecting more than a foot of snow. Michael Smith, deputy director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, says his department expects to see a number of power outages and disruption to traffic.

“We’re absolutely planning on power outages,” he said Tuesday. “I think it’s anticipated that (snowplows) will be a little overwhelmed, but as the storm slows and we get into Thursday I think we’ll probably see a relatively calm day in terms of traffic incidents.”

He recommends people do their grocery shopping Tuesday night or Wednesday morning and stay home when snow begins to fall, as plows will still be busy clearing roads.

“My main recommendation is if you don’t have to, don’t go out,” Smith said. “If you have to shovel, do it in smaller amounts and try to keep up with the snow rather than waiting until the storm is over.”

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