Cold today, heavy winter storm in Maine on Monday


Monday’s storm forecast is getting a little clearer, but there are still some complications with the storm’s exact track.

MAINE, USA – It’s just brutal out there this morning! As I write this, parts of Maine have wind chill readings below -40°F.

The wind gusts themselves were always between 35 and 45 mph. This caused power outages, which can actually increase a bit more during the morning.

On the bright side, the wind will ease a bit throughout the afternoon. The winds will even become calm overnight tonight, so crews should have plenty of time from later in the day to fix everything.

Once we get through the freezing cold, attention will shift to Monday’s severe winter storm.

Sunday begins on a sour note. With less wind than Saturday, it may not be as cold, although the air temperatures are actually lower.

In the afternoon, temperatures will reach nearly 20° under sunny skies.

Clouds are rapidly building up ahead of the Monday Sunday evening storm. Precip will however wait until Monday morning.

All week I’ve been talking about the possibility of two storm tracks for Monday’s storm.

With all the data I have now, I feel pretty confident in a track that takes the storm inland a bit. This complicates the forecast as a heavy snow squall in the morning will eventually turn to rain on the coast with some mixing inland.

Take a look at Monday morning. Even as early as 8 a.m., coastal temperatures will attempt to rise above freezing. I think this model is a bit too fast, though. I expect below freezing temperatures for all of Maine and New Hampshire throughout the morning.

The hot ends up winning, though. Even here, I think it’s too fast. Expect the foothills to remain mostly snow covered. Bangor will likely see a rainy spell though.

So how much snow will it drop?

Here’s what I think for the totals. The greatest chance of seeing a foothold is through the foothills of western Maine. Ski areas could really use something like this, so it’s a good thing for a lot of people who depend on winter weather for a living.

The corridor from Sanford to Augusta will see a bit of heavy snow before some mix or even rain takes over. Given the temperature profiles, it could end in sleet or freezing rain.

In case of icing, this is the place to watch.

I think central Maine will also have to deal with heavy wet snow. This could cause additional stress on trees and power lines, so watch for potential outages.

On the coast, the snow gives way to rain. Although snow totals will be lower here, the impacts will still be felt from this storm. These impacts come from potentially strong gusts of wind.

Given the current forecast, gusts of wind are picking up on Monday morning and afternoon, especially along the coast.

Gusts could approach or exceed 40 mph from the south. Widespread power outages seem unlikely, but there will likely still be issues that crop up.

I’m a bit more concerned about areas near I-95. With a few gusty winds and heavy, wet snow, there could be some additional power issues cropping up here. We are still refining the predictions and will have updates as they become available.

Last, but not least, there is the risk of minor coastal flooding. Given the direction of the southerly winds, some flood-prone areas along the coast could be inundated at high tide.

Here’s your quick breakdown:

A severe winter storm hit Monday. Snow, gusty winds and some minor coastal flooding are all on the table.

Snow begins around sunrise Monday in western Maine, about an hour after sunrise in eastern Maine.

Snow will fall in the mountains all day. On the coast, the snow will turn to rain in the early afternoon. Between the two, expect some mixing to develop.

The entire storm ends late Monday with some lingering flakes through Tuesday morning.

Hard travel is the biggest impact. Watch for slippery roads, low visibility and maybe some debris on the roads.

Power outages are also a problem, especially near the coastline. Gusts of wind and heavy, wet snow will stress trees and power lines. I still don’t expect any widespread issues at this time.

Minor coastal flooding will be possible during high tide cycles on Monday.

I know the timeline details are still a bit confusing, but I’m waiting until tomorrow to flesh out the specifics (switch to rain, switch to sleet, etc.). Keep an eye on this blog.

-Mike Slifer, @MikeSliferWX

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