A fast-moving clipper system coming from the west will bring several more inches of snow to Portland on Tuesday night.

The storm will be quick but intense, and the timing will be bad for evening commuters. Snow should start falling sometime between noon and 4 p.m. and it will be snowing hard by 6 or 7 p.m., according to Mike Kistner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray. Snowfall rates could reach an intensity of 1 to 3 inches per hour.

On a map of snowfall totals, Portland falls right on the border of 4 to 6 inches and 6 to 8 inches.

“I would say probably close to 6 inches is a good bet with this one, but it’s going to fall in such a short period of time, though,” Kistner said. “It’s going to be real intense snowfall for a few hours, and then it will be lightening up quickly. So that’s going to be the main impact from this: If it occurs right during rush hour, you’re going to have these really intense snowfall rates and the roads are going to go downhill in a hurry.”

The storm should wind down around midnight, leaving behind a blanket of light, fluffy snow.

“We may even get a little thunder and lightning with it,” Kistner said Monday. “That’s not out of the realm of possibility. We’re seeing that today, actually, in parts of Illinois with this system.”

Portland residents are getting sick of shoveling snow, and temperatures this winter have been brutal.

The normal average snowfall for Portland up to this point in the season is 41.4 inches, Kistner said. Currently the tally stands at 69.2 inches, nearly 28 inches above normal. Last year’s snowfall was 69 inches, “so we’ve already gone above last year’s snowfall total.”

But Kistner points out that the city would have to at least double the amount of snowfall it’s received so far this winter to break any kind of record this season.

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen, with spring coming just around the corner,” he said.

The temperature in Portland averaged a degree below normal in January, and is running four degrees below normal this month. But those temperatures are far from record-breaking, and a warm-up later this week could give a boost to this month’s statistics.

Meteorologists expect the highs to reach the low 40s in Portland on Thursday, and the upper 40s on Friday. Some spots across southern Maine, including Kittery, could see the temperature climb all the way up to 50 degrees Friday.

The warmth won’t last forever, though. Another front coming through Sunday will bring in more cold air from Canada, and temperatures Monday won’t rise much beyond the low 30s, right around freezing.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: 

mgoad@pressherald.com