Once again, Maine braced Thursday for a major snowstorm as the National Weather Service issued a blizzard watch for this weekend.

A watch, as opposed to a warning, means that forecasters are 50 percent certain that blizzard conditions will occur. Blizzard conditions are defined as visibility of a quarter-mile or less because of snow, and sustained winds or frequent wind gusts of 35 mph over a three-hour period.

Portland and other coastal communities are expected to get at least a foot of snow, forecasters said, and inland areas a little less. The snow is expected to start falling Saturday afternoon, continue through the evening and intensify Sunday morning. It should end by Sunday evening.

The timing of the storm, lasting through a good part of Valentine’s Day evening, couldn’t be worse for restaurants, but several in southern Maine have vowed not to close on one of their big nights of the year.

Piccolo, on Middle Street in Portland, was named one of the “Best New Romantic Restaurants in America” by Travel and Leisure magazine in 2014. Husband and wife chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez are planning a five-course tasting menu that will feature Wagyu beef, Basket Island oysters and New England seafood, for $75 per person.

“Absolutely. We are going to stay open,” said Kelly Nelson, who handles reservations for Piccolo. “We live in Maine and this weather is what Maine is all about.”

Despite the forecast, Piccolo has a long waiting list for dinner reservations, Nelson said.

At the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Albert Black, an assistant innkeeper, said, “It would take an enormous catastrophe for the White Barn Inn to close, but we are concerned about the safety of our guests.”

The restaurant will serve an intimate four-course dinner for $130 per person – not including tax and gratuity. The “Cupid’s Menu Gourmand” will feature smoked salmon tartare, Wagyu beef loin and foie gras-braised short ribs.

Despite the threat of a blizzard, Black said, the only reservation he has left is for 9 p.m. Saturday, for a party of four or more. He said the White Barn offers 26 guest rooms, just in case diners don’t feel like driving home.

Five Fifty-Five on Congress Street in downtown Portland is “definitely staying open” despite the forecast, said Alex Delabruere, a hostess. “We are Mainers,” she said.

The restaurant plans a four-course menu that includes truffled lobster mac ‘n cheese, sturgeon with artichokes, and Pineland Farm strip loin and venison – all for $75 per person.

Although Jonathan’s in Ogunquit will be open for dinner and a Valentine’s Day dance Saturday night, a concert scheduled for Sunday featuring Suede has been postponed to March 7 because of the storm. The postponement was announced Thursday night on Jonathan’s Facebook page.

Weather service meteorologist Mike Cempa said the snowflakes should start to fall around 5 p.m. Saturday – just as couples start venturing out for a romantic dinner.

“Prepare for snow, but also keep up with the forecast,” Cempa said, “because some areas may get more or less than what we are predicting.”

The good news, if there is any, is that the snow should be light and fluffy. The storm is expected to end Sunday afternoon or evening.

Portland is running out of space to dump snow, so it may have to resort to using privately owned land or even the ocean to clear the piles that are choking streets and sidewalks. “These are unprecedented times,” said Mike Bobinsky, Portland’s director of public services.

A total of 76.4 inches had fallen at the Portland International Jetport by Thursday night, 14.5 more than the city’s seasonal average of 61.9 inches.

This week, the city spent all that remained in its $1.1 million snow removal budget. Funds for future operations will have to come from the public services budget or the city’s general fund.

Bobinsky contacted four private landowners about whether they would be willing to let the city dump snow on their property. As an added measure, he said, he is creating a snow dump on a 7-acre city-owned parcel off Riverside Street. That site has drawbacks because of the time it would take to truck snow there from the downtown peninsula.

In past winters, the city has typically had breaks between snowstorms, giving plow and snow removal crews time to clear roads and sidewalks, Bobinsky said. That hasn’t been the case since late January. The weather service said the state has been beaten down by four storms that have each dropped more than 5 inches of snow, including one that dropped 2 feet.

“These back-to-back storms are very concerning,” Bobinsky said.

He said the city hasn’t had to dump snow in the ocean before, but it is a possibility if the seemingly endless cycle of storms continues. “I am going to recommend we exhaust these other options before we start discharging (snow) into water,” he said.

City spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said that if the city is forced into ocean dumping, it will first need a disposal permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Grondin said the city now disposes of snow in four places: the median strip of Franklin Street, Cutter Street at the base of the Eastern Promenade, outer Congress Street near the airport, and a lot on Somerset Street behind Trader Joe’s. Officials say those locations are almost at capacity.