A Wednesday afternoon snowstorm, on the heels of 9 inches that fell the night before, left some people throwing up their blistered hands in surrender.
“My son-in-law just plowed the rest of my driveway a few hours ago,” spouted Lori A. Hallett of Auburn, “and I just finished shoveling the walkway and steps from yesterday’s storm. Double ugh!”
As she spoke, a fresh round of snow was just starting to fall on streets and driveways that had been so recently cleared.
“I’m still not shoveled out from yesterday’s storm,” Sheila Rousseau, also of Auburn, said. “Ugh. Enough!”
That was Wednesday afternoon. By the end of the day, a few extra inches were on the ground and embattled Mainers were looking at Friday.
“Another storm system takes aim at northern New England Friday, forcing warm, moist air into the area,” the National Weather Service in Gray reported. “We will see mixed wintry precipitation develop Thursday night and continue into Friday morning before changing over to rain.”
Across Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties Wednesday, the snow began falling in earnest about 3 p.m.. An hour later, it was still coming down, wet and heavy, and promising to wreak havoc with the evening commute.
During Tuesday night’s storm, the tri-county area officially topped last year’s snow totals for this time of year. By the end of it, the region had seen 79 inches so far this season, topping last year’s February total of 71. That means we have nearly 40 more inches of snow than usual.
Surprised? Not the Farmer’s Almanac, which predicted a rugged winter long before it actually began.
“Most of the rest of February will be characterized by punishing weather,” the almanac predicted back in November, “including a powerful storm system toward the middle of the month that could leave many coastal areas flooded.”
Punishing sounds about right.
As inconvenient as it was, Wednesday’s snow seemed appropriate to mark the 15th year anniversary of the completion of the world’s largest snowman, constructed in Bethel in 1999. Dubbed Angus: King of the Mountain, the snowman stood 113 feet, 7.5 inches tall and weighed about 9 million pounds.
Back at sea level, Wednesday’s slop was just more of the same. The evening commute was a slow one, although no serious car wrecks were reported in the area. A few hours later, just after 6 p.m., the snow came to an end, replaced by a light drizzle that continued into the evening.
Police say the number of crashes during stormy weather seems to be down as of late. That’s quite likely because by now Mainers have become accustomed to slushy roads and poor visibility. They drive slower. They stay off the roads if at all possible.
Thursday was expected to be mostly sunny with highs in the low 40s. That gives most Mainers a chance to shovel out before Friday comes with snow, rain and sleet to start the process all over again.
And the rest of winter? According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we still have a long ways to go:
“As the old lore says, March will come in like a lion this year, with cloudy windy conditions in the opening days of the month giving way to a major East Coast storm bringing both heavy rain and snow to New England, with lesser amounts to the south. Things will remain frigid and unsettled through the spring equinox, with wintry conditions continuing past the start of the new season.”