A winter storm that is expected to bring ice, sleet and several inches of snow to southern Maine has led airlines to cancel most flights in and out of the Portland International Jetport through much of Friday.

“Most of our arrivals (Thursday night) and departures in the morning have been canceled,” jetport spokesman Zachary Sundquist said. “Their biggest concern is the ice and icy conditions. But, it’s not just Portland that’s being affected. It’s happening up and down the East Coast.”

The storm Thursday night stretched from northern Texas to Maine and had already disrupted travel for thousands.

All five airlines at the jetport – American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United – issued travel advisories Thursday. Anyone planning to fly Thursday or Friday should check with their airline before going to the jetport.

Delta flights out of Atlanta and New York were expected to arrive in Portland on Thursday night, as was an American Airlines flight out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nationally, more than 6,200 flights had been canceled and hundreds more were delayed by Thursday evening, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.


Rain fell through much of Thursday in Maine, and forecasters expected that to change over to ice, sleet and snow overnight, making for hazardous driving in parts of southern Maine through much of Friday.

The most significant threat will be a dense accumulation of ice and sleet – 1 to 2  inches in the Portland area, said Andy Pohl, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray. By the time the storm ends in Portland on Friday afternoon, the ice and sleet could be covered with about 6 inches of snow, Pohl said.

Northern areas were likely to be buried in snow, according to the weather service. Fryeburg, Rumford, Rangeley, Jackman and Skowhegan could get 12 to 18 inches before the storm ends, and northern Cumberland County, Auburn and Augusta could get 6 to 12 inches. Pohl said the size of the storm was impressive.

“People may not realize that this storm goes all the way back to Texas and it is going to affect millions of people,” Pohl said.

Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement Thursday asking people to stay off the roads, and all state offices will be closed Friday.

“With driving expected to be difficult during this winter storm, I strongly urge all Maine people to stay off the roads if possible to help avoid accidents and to allow our state and municipal road crews to work safely,” Mills said.

High wind gusts, which can lead to power outages, should not be a factor, but Central Maine Power Co. said its crews are prepared. The company’s 200 line workers will be assisted by 114 contractor crews from Maine and outside the state, along with 97 tree workers.

“We have been watching this storm almost since the end of last week’s storm and have been preparing based on what we expect for weather and where we expect it to impact the state,” Adam Desrosiers, CMP’s vice president of electric operations, said in a statement. “This storm may bring some wet, heavy snow and possibly some freezing rain, both of which can cause tree limbs to break and fall on power lines.”

Friday’s storm is the second to slam the state in less than a week. A nor’easter packing blizzard conditions dumped up to 20 inches of snow in some places, including Brunswick, last Saturday.

Related Headlines

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.