Sunday December 29, 2013 | 10:09 PM
Posted by David Epstein

Mild air continues to hold in place from York County northward along much of the coastline and even several miles inland along parts of the coast.  The storm is moving very rapidly and the majority of the precipitation will fall as rain, not snow in coastal areas.

Storm warnings have been dropped from about Bath southward along the coast.  There are no warnings or advisories for this storm in greater Portland.

I expect much of the storm to be over by around midnight in southern Maine and 4AM Down East.  When I give times in the blog, I am often averaging the end time for southern Maine, the closer to southern York county you are, you can usually subtract and hour or two from the estimate, while adding an hour or two in the Augusta/Waterville area.

Rain has now changed to snow in much of Portland and will continue to accumulate through midnight.  Snowfall rates have exceeded 2 inches per hour in places west of the Maine Turnpike and north of Gray.  This will make travel very difficult until road crews are able to clear the roads.

The intense rate of precipitation means for every hour it snows after any change, an inch or more could accumulate.   This is why my range for snow  increases dramtically from along the coast to as much as 10 inches in parts of Oxford and Kennebec Counties.

Skiers Powder

There will be a foot to 16 inches of snow in the ski areas especially around Sunday River and Mount Abram.   As you drive north on the Maine Turnpike you will quickly see this increase in snow totals.   When all is said and done, greater Portland itself could end up with nothing more than a coating to a few inches of slush.

Those of you will rain now will see a change to snow before the storm ends. However, the storm is moving so quickly.  If the change to snow occured a few hours earlier, then my totals along the coast will be too low.

Due to the rapidly evolving conditions this evening, I recommend not traveling unless you need to once the snow begins or the change to snow occurs.  You will see the snow stick to trees, power lines and the roads quickly once the temperatures become cold enough for snow.

Monday will be a dry and mostly sunny day with a chilly breeze.  Highs will approach freezing for a short period of time for an hour or two around 1PM.

The Cold

It becomes very cold Monday night with coastal areas falling to the lower single numbers along the coast and near zero inland.  This cold will continue New Year's eve day when highs will only be in the upper teens in the city, but several degrees colder inland. 

New Year's eve itself is cold, but dry with temperatures around midnight in the single numbers. 

Dry and sunny weather continues New Year's Day with highs in the single numbers to lower teens.  It's going to be a frigid start to 2014.

The Next Snowstorm

Our next storm rides up along the coast for Thursday with another round of snow along with very cold air.  This storm will only be snow and the question I will be working on this week is how much.  I expect it to turn bitter cold again behind this late week system.  I'll be updating the forecast on Twitter @growingwisdom, please find me there.

 This is turning out to be an "old fashioned" Maine winter.

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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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