A winter storm that was wreaking havoc in the Midwest reached Maine late Tuesday, bringing the threat of heavy snow in the mountains, potential sleet and rain along the coast and a messy morning commute in Greater Portland and elsewhere.

The National Weather Service in Gray issued a winter storm warning starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The warning said that the storm will likely produce significant snowfall and sleet, lasting through Wednesday morning.

Derek Schroeter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, predicted the storm would dump 6-8 inches of snow over Greater Portland and 8-12 inches in the mountains and foothills. Snow could mix with sleet by morning in Portland and coastal areas.

“Travel could be very difficult,” the National Weather Service said in the warning.

After the snow tapers – around 10 a.m. – in Portland, temperatures will rise to a possible high of 39 degrees Wednesday, Schroeter said.

Many sporting events and community meetings were postponed because of the storm forecast, and many communities implemented parking bans, including Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Saco, Scarborough, Falmouth, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach, York and Brunswick.

Announcing its parking ban beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Windham police tweeted “Mother Nature is at it again,” and posted a photo of a man dressed as Darth Vader riding a unicycle while pushing a shovel to clear a path through snow.

The Maine Department of Transportation urged motorists to avoid traveling during the storm. “Our crews will be out overnight trying to stay ahead of the storm. If you don’t have to leave the house – don’t risk it!” the MDOT tweeted.

The speed limit on the Maine Turnpike between New Hampshire and Augusta was lowered to 45 mph at just after 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Maine Legislature announced that it will not meet Wednesday.

The city of Portland canceled some city meetings Tuesday evening. A Planning Board hearing on a proposed self-storage facility on Riverside Street has been rescheduled to Feb. 26.

Concord Coach Lines canceled its Wednesday bus run from Portland to Logan Airport in Boston, according to a notice on its website. More information about other runs is available at concordcoachlines.com.

The Amtrak Downeaster announced on its website Tuesday that it intends to “operate full service” through the storm. Downeaster officials said that local managers will continue to monitor the weather and would decide to make travel adjustments if necessary.

Heavy snow to the south and west of Maine was causing flight delays and cancellations at the Portland International Jetport Tuesday night. Three flights out of Washington, D.C.’s Dulles Airport, and one from Memphis were listed as late arrivals, according to the jetport’s website. Seven flights due to arrive from Newark, New York and Baltimore were all canceled.

Check the Press Herald’s website for all the updated basketball tournament schedules for boys and girls.

The girls’ ice hockey regional finals at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston has been moved from Wednesday to Thursday.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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