Tuesday February 19, 2013 | 08:50 PM
Posted by David Epstein

Rain and snow is rapidly pushing through southern Maine with rain at the coast and wet snow inland. Latest radar trends show the precipitation moving north and there will be some big puddles developing as the rain has trouble finding its way to the sewer system. 

It’s school vacation week and this should be music to the ears of those who depend on snow to make a living. Winter in Maine after all, does mean snow.  Our economy relies heavily of there being snow. Skiers and boarders want snow, snowmobilers want it and even hunters want some of it for tracking. I have been a skier since I was about 4 years old.  I started at Lost Valley, moved on to Mount Abram, Pleasant Mountain (Shawnee Peak) and for the past couple of decades have been skiing Sunday River and Sugarloaf.   I still love skiing too.  I remember my Dad bemoaning about the snow, as he was on the road a lot.  Not driving as a kid, I didn’t understand the problems snow could create.  Now, as an adult I have a love-hate relationship with it.   Ideally, the snow would fall in those places that depend on it, and rain would fall around the city.  I know this wouldn’t be great for folks that plow, but think of the money the cities would save on their budgets for snow removal.  The weather the next twenty-four hours will resemble, just a bit, my meteorological fantasy.

A storm system is going to bring some snow to western and northern sections of the area. However, east of the Turnpike and south of Lewiston most of the precipitation will fall as rain. The cause of our latest bout of inclement weather is a storm that will move to our west, and up over the Great Lakes.  Normally this would bring rain to the entire area.  However, a piece of that storm will reform over the area and not allow the warm air to penetrate west of the coastal plain and north into the capitol district.   

Depending on where you are the weather will be quite different the next 24 hours.  Across York and Cumberland counties and  up through Lewiston, the day today will be quite nice with abundant sunshine and temperatures rising above freezing.  The high in Portland will be 37°F around 3 PM this afternoon.  Clouds will increase for the second part of the day and some rain is likely after dark.  That rain will continue on and off tonight and end as a period of snow showers tomorrow before dawn.  As the system clears the area sunshine will mix with clouds and temperatures will again exceed freezing topping out in the mid 30s.
The snow tomorrow morning could coat the ground or leave a quick inch well inland.  Those of you commuting to Portland for work won’t see any issues. The rest of the week looks dry and seasonable with temperatures breaking freezing by day and falling into the teens at night.
As you move into the foothills and the mountains the forecast is much the same, however, any rain that does fall will change to snow much quicker overnight and therefore some accumulation is likely.  A winter storm warning is in effect for the western mountains Franklin and Somerset counties in and a weather advisory is in effect for Oxford, Androscoggin, Kennebec and Waldo counties.  I have drawn up a map to show how much snow I expect to fall in these area tonight and early Wednesday. The area from Oxford to Augusta could see a bit more than I am expecting if the colder air rushes back in a bit faster tonight.
If you are on vacation this week, the skiing continues to look fabulous.  Any precipitation should hold off until the lifts close today and first runs Wednesday will be quite amazing on some fresh snow.  The next chance of precipitation comes late in the weekend, but that is not a sure bet at this point. 

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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