A sidewalk snowplow prepares to cross Congress Street in Portland on Feb. 25, 2022, during a snowstorm. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine’s first significant snowfall of the season is expected to drop as we head into the weekend.

That snowfall is currently forecast to be heaviest in the western mountains and central highlands, with 4 to 6 inches expected from Augusta to Jackman, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray.

Accumulation will be greatest over an area stretching from Rangeley to Rumford, where up to 8 to 12 inches may fall, while up to 6 to 8 inches may fall in outlying communities as far south as Lewiston and Auburn, preliminary early forecasts show.

The chance for significant accumulation appears to lessen along the more populated southern coast, where less than an inch is expected from Portland to Belfast, though some areas like Sanford could see an inch or more, the weather service office in Gray forecasts.

The snowfall is expected to start Thursday night and linger into Saturday morning.

The weather service office in Caribou had not released snowfall estimates for eastern and northern Maine by early Wednesday afternoon, but it said in an early morning bulletin that snow is currently “favored” for the north and rain for the Down East.

As the weekend approaches, the state can expect to see “unseasonably mild” temperatures, with highs in the 30s, according to the weather service office in Caribou.