Maine’s first major winter storm in nearly two weeks is expected to dump as much as 12 to 18 inches of snow over parts of the state and bring winds gusting up to 50 mph.
The National Weather Service has placed Maine’s most southerly counties under a winter storm warning from 8 p.m. Monday until 8 a.m. Wednesday, while a winter storm watch is in place for central and eastern Maine and a hazardous weather outlook for northern Maine.
The snow is expected to start falling early Tuesday and continue into the day on Wednesday. It could be heavy and wet at times, and could become a wintry mix near the New Hampshire border.
“Travel could be very difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning commutes,” the weather service said in an advisory.
Greater Bangor is forecast to get up to 6 to 8 inches of snow. Similar amounts are expected from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor and along the Down East coast from Machias to Eastport, according to the weather service office in Caribou.
That snowfall will lessen farther to the north, where Houlton is currently expected to be hit with 6 to 8 inches of snow, while Presque Isle and Caribou are forecast to see up to 3 to 4 inches and Fort Kent 2 to 3 inches.
Forecasters believe the storm is on track to hit hardest along the midcoast and southern Maine, where 8 to 12 inches are forecast from Belfast all the way down to Portland. Inland 8 to 12 inches are expected across a wide swath of central Maine from Augusta to the Lewiston-Auburn area, according to the weather service office in Gray.
The Sanford area may be even harder hit, with the present forecast calling for as much as 12 to 18 inches of snow, the weather service office in Gray reported.
Similarly to The County, the western mountains won’t see the worst of the storm, with 6 to 8 inches forecast for the Rangeley area and just 2 to 3 inches around Jackman.
Meanwhile, the storm, which is moving up from the Gulf of Maine, could produce gusts up to 40 mph along the southern coast and up to 50 mph across eastern Maine, creating conditions for power outages and minor coastal flooding, according to the weather service.
But once the storm departs, Maine could see the return of partly sunny skies and highs near 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Caribou weather station.