Maine is bracing for an ocean storm that will track close enough to the state Thursday to produce heavy snow.
“We are expecting about 8-12 inches throughout most of southern and western Maine and, once you get toward Penobscot Bay and points to the east, 12-18 inches plus are possible, certainly from Penobscot up through Washington County,” says Tom Hawley with the National Weather Service in Gray.
“Right now the computer models have been very consistent in developing a storm rapidly off the East Cost of the United States, for the last several model runs. And they’re all doing it,” he says.
Slightly milder air is pushing into the state in advance of the storm; it’ll raise high temperatures Wednesday into the teens and 20s. The snow arrives Thursday morning in southern Maine with blizzard conditions expected by afternoon. Coastal regions will additionally deal with powerful winds.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Bloomer in Caribou says it’s likely snow will mix with some sleet and freezing rain along the coast Down East late Thursday afternoon and into the evening, which should hold down accumulations.
“Maybe 3-6 inches along the immediate coast and then, of course, more as you got inland,” he says.
Bloomer says the precipitation may change back to all snow Thursday night as the storm moves to the east.
Anticipating heavy snow, wind and whiteout conditions, a number of closures are already being announced.
The Maine legislature has announced that public hearings and work sessions scheduled for Thursday have been postponed and will be rescheduled later. Several towns and cities have posted parking bans and closed municipal offices.
Physician practices and outpatient services at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth and Blue Hill Memorial Hospital are closing at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Because locations to the south of Maine are already feeling the effects of the storm, some flights into and out of the state have already been canceled.
All Concord Coach Lines service Thursday in Maine and New Hampshire has been canceled.
The Amtrak Downeaster says it’s preparing to operate full service Thursday. However, travelers should anticipate storm-related delays, and cancellations or schedule changes will be made, if needed.
The National Weather Service is advising people not to travel during the height of the storm. If you must, it recommends having winter survival gear with you.