LEWISTON — Those motorcycles and emerging tulips you were starting to see will vanish for a while as the area braces for another foot of snow Tuesday.
With the official arrival of spring at 7:02 a.m. Wednesday, Mainers have been dealt a cruel blow as a winter storm warning has been issued for the entire state.
According to Bob Marine of the National Weather Service Office in Gray, this storm will be a two-part event with heavy accumulations during the morning commute and into late morning.
Snow will become moderate throughout the day before picking up again in the late afternoon through evening with accumulations for the Lewiston area between 12 and 16 inches. Marine said there is even a possibility of 18 inches in the Twin Cities area by Wednesday morning.
According to Marine, this will be an all-snow event with colder air aloft, making for the lighter, fluffier variety. It will end around midnight Tuesday.
As of Monday evening, parking bans were in effect for many communities, including Lewiston, Auburn and Lisbon.
Anticipating a messy cleanup, Alan Gray of the Auburn Public Works Department stood ready Monday night with as many as 35 trucks in the garage, all loaded with sand and awaiting the storm.
Gray explained how the city works three shifts with each truck manned by two people; one to drive while the other works as a relief. He said the trucks each follow an established route, returning as needed for sand.
In all, Gray said drivers spend as many as 16 hours behind the wheel before seeing any rest.
"It wears you out," Gray said. As a firsthand observer, Gray noted this was a particularly difficult winter in regards to snowfall and cleanup.
As for any light at the end of the tunnel, Gray said, "We'll see. They're talking Thursday into Friday too."
With the majority of the storm expected to arrive Tuesday morning, just after Gray's shift, he was happy with the timing of the storm.
A hearty spring storm isn't bad news for everyone, however. While Lost Valley officially closed for the season on Monday, Saddleback General Manager Chris Farmer couldn't be happier.
"We're excited," Farmer said, noting the Rangeley ski area has had a record-breaking March. Following what he called a "beautiful weekend," Farmer said skiers were treated to a taste of spring weather. He sees this new powder a perfect start to the week.
Farmer said Saddleback's trails are in good shape and his crews are out grooming trails they normally wouldn't touch this late in the season ahead of the fresh snow.
Currently, according to Farmer, 56 trails are open but that number is expected to be over 60 by next weekend. As for the season, Farmer was ecstatic. "It's been great; much better than last year."
A realist, Farmer knows spring can't be held off indefinitely, but wants everyone to know, "This sport can happen in March," and that beyond April, "We're going to run weekends until we run out of snow or people."