Updated at 2 p.m.

The end (of the snow) is near!

Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said the snow will begin easing off in York County soon and in Greater Portland in about four hours, or roughly 5 or 6 p.m.

She said skies will remain cloudy tonight with snow showers, but forecasters don’t expect to see more than another inch or two of accumulation after the main part of the storm winds down.

Most areas recorded about 7 inches of snow early this afternoon, so Curtis said the final total is expected to be nearer the lower end of the forecasted snowfall of 10 to 16 inches.

In addition to schools and government offices, the Maine Mall shut down at noon today and Dimillo’s Floating Restaurant on the Portland waterfront shut down.

“We just don’t do that,” Dan DiMillo said of the unusual decision to close for the day. Founder Tony DiMillo, Dan’s father, “is probably turning over in his grave right now,” he said.

DiMillos said the lack of customers in the storm and not wanting to put workers at risk drove the decision to close.

It’s likely to take at least a day to start getting transportation back on track. Nationally, thousands of flights were canceled, which impacts flights into Portland Internationa Jetport because many of the planes that fly in and out of that airport might not have gotten into the air today.

The airport reported about a dozen flights canceled, but it’s not clear how many late afternoon and night flights might be scrapped.

On the rails, the Downeaster dropped one train and consolidated two others ahead of the storm and its trains to and from Boston were running about two hours late.

12:03 p.m.

For those of you in houses without windows and doors, yes, it is snowing.

The snow began in southern Maine around sunrise and is expected to fall at rates up to 3 inches an hour during the day with visibility frequently dropping below a quarter mile.

The National Weather Service is forecasting 10 to 16 inches of snow on the ground by the time the storm winds down late tonight and strong, gusty winds will cause blowing and drifting snow.

Schools, government offices and many businesses are closed today and plows – municipal and private – are out in force. Traffic was extremely light during the morning commute with most drivers heeding warnings not to drive unless absolutely necessary.

One driver who was out and about was Zac Storey, a cab driver with ASAP Taxi in Portland.

Driving wasn’t bad this morning, Storey said, largely because most people seemed to be staying home. Several of his fares were people with medical appointments for chronic illnesses.

“I also had some people who didn’t want to drive to work or stand out in this and wait for the bus,” said Storey, who lives in Scarborough. “If you do have to drive, take your time, leave room between you and the next vehicle and watch out for other drivers who don’t know what they’re doing.”

Once the storm passes by, residents will have only a couple of days to shovel out – the Weather Service said another storm moving up the East Coast on Saturday probably will bring 6 inches or more of additional snow.