Machias is blanketed in snow after about ten inches was dumped there during a 2017 storm. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Maine’s coastal regions and Down East region are expected to get up to 7 inches of heavy snow by the end of the week, as a drastic shift in weather conditions moves into the state.

A winter storm watch will be in effect from early Friday morning into Friday evening for coastal Washington and Hancock counties, according to the National Weather Service office in Caribou.

The winter storm watch extends into some areas of central and western Maine, with forecasters predicting anywhere from 6 to 8 inches of snow hitting Augusta, as well as parts of Waldo, Kennebec, Somerset and Franklin counties.  

A winter storm warning has been issued for Cumberland and York counties, with possible snow accumulations of 8 to 12 inches in the Portland region.

Snowfall could start coming down on Friday at rates higher than 1 inch per hour, impacting visibility and making travel difficult. Motorists are warned to exercise caution while traveling on Friday and into Saturday morning.

The Bangor region is expected to escape the brunt of most of the incoming snowfall, with forecasters predicting a few inches of snow accumulation throughout Friday. However, that forecast could change as the storm progresses, the Caribou NWS office said on Thursday morning.

Northern Penobscot and Aroostook counties are expected to avoid any snowfall, but cold air will keep temperatures low through the weekend.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.