For most of Maine, Friday will be a snow day, with some areas, such as Portland and areas to the south and west, looking at the prospect of receiving up to 12 inches.

The National Weather Service office in Gray issued a winter storm warning on Thursday, with forecasters confident it’s going to snow steadily from early Friday morning into late Friday night.

Portland and places south and west of it will likely to get 8 to 12 inches of snow. Nearly all of the state, except for extreme northern regions such as Aroostook County, will experience some accumulation.

“It looks like we’re in for it,” said Michael Clair, a meteorologist with the weather service. He said it will start snowing as early as 1 a.m. Friday and won’t stop until late Friday night.

The good news is that the storm will drop dry, fluffy snow over most of Maine, offering those who have to shovel their driveways and sidewalks a break from removing heavy, wet snow. (Clair said people curious about the texture of snow from storms in Maine can go to a National Weather Service snow character link that offers predictions.)

Clair said snowfall accumulations will be heaviest in southern and western Maine. Portland, Sanford and Fryeburg may get 8 to 12 inches, with communities such as Augusta, Auburn and Rumford looking at 6 to 8 inches. Jackman could get 3 to 4 inches.


Despite the prediction that the snow will be dry and fluffy, Central Maine Power Co. issued a statement Thursday evening assuring customers that power restoration crews will be ready to respond to any outages the storm might cause. Heavy, wet snow combined with high winds often causes tree limbs to fall onto power lines.

CMP line workers and contractor crews worked through the night Wednesday and most of Thursday to restore power to customers who were impacted by high wind gusts. Since the onset of high winds Tuesday, CMP reported that 54,000 customers lost power, with thousands in Augusta and Waterville affected. All but 147 customers had their power restored by 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We have restored power to more than 50,000 customers over two days, moving crews to areas of greatest impact to work efficiently as possible,” CMP’s senior director of electric operations, Kerri Therriault, said in a statement. “While we expect Friday’s snow to be powdery and there are no strong winds forecasted that could create outages, we remain prepared.”

Friday’s snowstorm represents a stark contrast to Wednesday’s weather, which saw Portland setting a new record high of 66 degrees for the date. That mark shattered the 32-year-old high of 61 degrees set in 1990.

The National Weather Service noted that the high set Wednesday and the low on Thursday in Portland – 16 degrees at 6 a.m. – represented a 50-degree change in temperatures. During Friday’s storm, the temperatures are expected to remain in the mid-20s.

The threat of heavy snow Friday led to some early cancellations Thursday night. Most public schools in Maine are on vacation this week.

Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement directing all state offices to delay opening until 11 a.m. Friday.

“Recent warm weather should not make us underestimate this winter storm,” Mills said. “I encourage all Maine people to be careful during their morning commute tomorrow, giving plenty of space to road crews as they work to clear the roads.”

The city of Portland announced Thursday evening that inclement weather will lead to the closure of Portland City Hall and all city-owned buildings on Friday.

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