Several central Maine communities welcomed the first day of spring Thursday with a foot or more of fresh, wet heavy snow.
Franklin, Somerset and Oxford counties received the most snowfall in the area, with Farmington reporting more than 15 inches, Wilton 14 inches and New Sharon with 13 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.
Snowfall dropped off sharply just 40 minutes south, where the greater Waterville area received about a half foot of snowfall. Winslow reported 4.5 inches and Augusta had about 3 inches.
By 9 a.m., the snowfall had turned to rain, which meteorologist Tom Hawley said would taper off by later Thursday morning. Temperatures edged just above the freezing mark, reaching 34 degrees in Waterville by 11 a.m.
Several area schools closed for the day, including Skowhegan-based Regional School Unity 54, Farmington-based RSU 9, Newport-based RSU 19 and Readfield-based RSU 38.
The storm exceeded the expectations of Waterville Public Works Director Mark Turner, who was expecting little snowfall after looking at forecasts Wednesday night.
“We just thought we were going to go out and sand (Wednesday) night,” Turner said. “We got more than we thought we would. Everyone had to come in. We were able to deal with it, but it’s been difficult.”
With the rainfall quickly following the heavy snow, Turner was worried about catch basins potentially clogging, causing flooding.
“When we get this type of precipitation, we have those concerns,” he said, adding that public works has been alerted of a couple spots of flooding. “Last week we did a strategic clearing of the catch basins. We know this is the melting season.”
The weather should clear up by the afternoon with warmer temperatures, potentially reaching the 40s, according to Hawley. Friday will be more of the same, warmer temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s, before a chance of snow on Saturday.