Maddilynn Riesbeck, 9, of Standish tests the water at Bayview Beach in Saco on Wednesday, a winter day that felt much more like spring. Her family took advantage of the warm weather for a truly rare beach day during February vacation. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Portland saw record-high temperatures Wednesday, but the city is bracing for up to a foot of snow just two days from now.

Maine’s largest city recorded a high of 66 degrees around noon Wednesday, shattering the previous high for the date of 61 set in 1990, according to the National Weather Service office in Gray.

With a record high in the books, the weather is about to reverse course. Temperatures were expected to dip into the teens late Wednesday and highs were forecast to top out around 20 on Thursday, and on Friday, a winter storm is likely to dump 8 to 12 inches of snow on southern Maine.

Meteorologist Michael Clair said Portland and areas to the south will see the heaviest snowfall beginning Friday morning and ending that night. The weather service has issued a winter storm watch for late Thursday into Friday.

Harper Anderson, 4, gets pushed on a swing by her mother, Raye Anderson, at the Eastern Prom park in Portland on Wednesday, with record-breaking warmth. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“It will snow for most of the day on Friday, but it will be light, fluffy snow,” Clair said. The weather service storm watch warns that heavy snow could make for treacherous driving Friday morning.

The wacky weather pattern has presented challenges for organizers of Portland’s second annual Carnaval Maine Winter Festival, which started Feb. 17 and is scheduled to end Saturday, Feb. 26.


Carnaval Maine is based on the Eastern Prom and features live music, art installations, light shows, a rail jam competition featuring skiers and snowboarders, professional ice and snow sculptures, and the Bites and Brews igloo, where Maine chefs and six craft brewers team up to offer meals and beer.

“The weather has certainly thrown our team a lot of curveballs and soon it will be snowballs,” said Brian Corcoran of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, which is producing Carnaval Maine. “I wish Mother Nature had delivered this snow to us 10 days ago.”

Three-year-old twins Forest, left, and Bode Morrill play in a puddle at Will’s Playground on the Eastern Promenade in Portland on Wednesday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Corcoran recognizes that Friday’s storm may discourage some people from attending the festival. He plans to announce Thursday that people who purchased tickets for Friday will be able to use them Saturday instead. The event’s closing ceremony will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday, and country music star Scotty McCreery is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m., according to Carnaval Maine’s schedule of events.

“We want to do the right thing by the city and the community,” Corcoran said.

A building collapse in the Knightville neighborhood of South Portland on Wednesday afternoon may have been caused by strong wind gusts that reached 40 mph, the weather service said.

Winds were gusting up to 40 mph when the roof on a two-story residential building under construction in South Portland collapsed and landed on two vehicles. Rachel Ohm/Staff Writer

Robb Couture, spokesman for the South Portland Fire Department, said the roof on a two-story residential building under construction near the intersection of D and Ocean streets collapsed and landed on two vehicles. A four-door sedan and a pickup truck were damaged, but no one was inside the vehicles, and no injuries were reported.


Couture said neighbors told fire crews that they heard a loud crash that shook their interior walls.

High winds also caused power outages in many parts of the state Wednesday.

More than 19,000 Central Maine Power Co. customers were without power as of 9 p.m., according to CMP’s outage website. Most of the outages were in Franklin, Oxford and Kennebec counties. The town of Jay in Franklin County was the hardest hit community, with more than 1,000 outages.

Versant Power, which serves northern and Down East Maine issued a news release around 9 p.m. letting customers know that more than 2,600 outages had been caused by high winds and wind gusts. Versant said customers whose power was not restored by 10 p.m. should plan on being without power overnight.

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