Tuesday February 11, 2014 | 08:45 PM
Posted by David Epstein

 There is a real buzz about the upcoming weather for Thursday, but here in Maine this isn’t going to be a storm of catastrophic or historic proportions.  Those words are being use to describe the system, as it impacts the southern states, where major accumulations of ice will cause hazardous driving and significant power outages.

Wednesday is a bright and cold day after another sub-zero morning for many of you.  We will see nearly 100% of the possible sunshine and you will need the sunglasses as you head to work.  You may notice a few wispy clouds on the southern horizon late in the day a forerunner of the coming snow.

There is a winter storm watch up for much of Maine for Thursday and into early Friday.  I circled on the map below all the areas of the east under some sort of watch or warning related to this storm.The morning commute Thursday will be dry although there could be a few flurries over extreme southern Maine by the end of the commute.

The snow overspreads the coastal plain throughout the morning and it should be snowing quite hard just after lunch in the Portland area.   Schools are going to have a tough call to make on Thursday.  It will be very easy getting into the classroom, but quite difficult heading home.  Early dismal at noon might not be early enough especially from Portland south.  In the capitol district and the mountains at least a half to even full day of school should be possible.   Of course, this isn’t my call, but I hope this information helps those making it.   The timing is subject to change so please check my latest forecast and twitter updates for any new information.

The storm will continue throughout the night on Thursday, but end in most areas before sunrise Friday. There could be some leftover snow showers Friday morning, but sunshine and seasonable temperatures will greet Mainers as you head off to work or school.

The question on everyone’s mind is how much snow?  I have heard some crazy numbers out there today ranging up to 2 or 3 feet of snow.  This is patently false.  One of the things that happens in these big storms which cover a large area of the country is non-meteorologists start speaking about the storm in ways they shouldn’t.  Also, one possible accumulation in some mountain area of West Virginia becomes how much the east coast is going to see.   This is a storm and for some south of the Mason-Dixon line it will be memorable, but not here.

Back to the answer to how much snow here in Maine.  Along the immediate coast there will be a mix with sleet or even a change to rain for a short time, this will cut amounts back.  Exactly how far inland the mix gets will determine the final totals.  The islands in Casco Bay and some of the peninsulas along the coast could easily stay under 6 inches of snow, while amounts increase towards 12 inches or slightly higher in ski country.   Portland and the surrounding communities will likely be in a 4 to 8 inch range.  I am keeping the spread large for now pending new data overnight and Wednesday morning.

Although this isn’t a blockbuster storm, it will impact travel and especially air travel.  Airports up and down much of the eastern seaboard are going to be seeing many delays and cancellations the next 72 hours.  With school vacation week starting Friday,  it’s going be even more of  challenge getting the airline system back to normal this coming weekend.

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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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