A snowstorm that slowed the morning commute Tuesday tapered off briefly in the early afternoon, before intensifying again and changing over to a mix of rain, sleet and snow along the coast, and slowing the evening commute as well.

But forecasters say the changeover did not take place as quickly as they had predicted.

“The cold air got locked in and never eroded away. That prevented the system from changing over to rain on the coast as quickly as we thought it would,” said James Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Gray.

The road conditions caused by the storm led to several accidents and slide-offs during the evening commute, but no serious injuries.

The Maine Turnpike Authority, which lowered speed limits to 45 mph on Tuesday, reported two crashes Tuesday afternoon in northbound lanes between Kennebunk and Biddeford and in Gray near the New Gloucester tollbooth.

In Brunswick, police reported that a car rolled over on Pleasant Street near the entrance to Interstate 295 around 4:30 p.m. No injuries were reported and it did not affect traffic along the busy street, police said.


Lisbon police reported that a car slid off Lisbon Street shortly after 3 p.m. No injuries were reported.

Brown said the precipitation had ended by 9:30 p.m. in Portland. He said it was still snowing Tuesday night in northern sections of the state.

The National Weather Service Office issued a winter storm warning late Tuesday for most interior sections of Maine that will remain in effect until 1 a.m. Wednesday. The warning states that heavy snow mixed with sleet could create dangerous driving conditions. “Be prepared for very icy, slick conditions,” the weather service warned.

Brown said the snowstorm was forecast to move out of Maine and by Wednesday morning the state will be left with partly sunny skies and extreme cold, with high temperatures reaching the upper 20s.

Most of southern and western Maine had received more than 2 inches of snow from the storm, according to figures posted Tuesday at 9 p.m. by the weather service. The foothills and mountains were expected to see higher amounts by the time the storm ends Tuesday night.

According to the weather service, 2.3 inches of snow fell at the Portland Jetport; North Yarmouth got 3.5 inches; South Portland, 4 inches; Gray, 2.6 inches; Naples, 5 inches; Limington, 4.5 inches; Hollis, 4.1 inches; Saco, 2 inches; Topsham, 2 inches; Lovell, 5.9 inches and Lewiston, 3 inches.


On Tuesday evening the weather service advised homeowners to clean up their slush-covered driveways before temperatures drop.

“It might be a good idea to get the fresh mess cleared off your driveway tonight, especially if some warmer, above freezing air is able to move inland for a few hours,” the weather service said. “Any slush will likely freeze solid by tomorrow.”

Snow started falling in Portland around 3:30 a.m., leaving roads coated before dawn.

Deputies across York County responded to multiple slide-offs throughout the morning, but there were no serious accidents, York County Sheriff William King said.

The Maine Turnpike Authority reported a two-car crash on the northbound side of the turnpike between York and Wells. A Brinks truck slid off the Falmouth Spur just east of the exit ramp from the turnpike. Emergency crews responded to both crashes before 8 a.m.

Some area school districts canceled classes for the day, including Westbrook, Gorham, Sanford and MSAD 6 in the Standish-Buxton area. York and Wells delayed the start of school by two hours. Almost all high school sports events across southern Maine were postponed.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: