LEWISTON — At Lewiston Public Works, the equipment is still wet from the last storm, but the staff is bracing for another nor’easter.
Just five days after Winter Storm Quinn dropped a foot of snow or more onto most of Maine, forecasters are predicting another 12 to 18 inches Tuesday into Wednesday.
“Basically, we’re still set up from the last storm,” said Dave Jones, director of Public Works. “We’re just tuning up the equipment and getting them ready to go.”
If the latest forecasts hold true, this week’s snowfall will add to an already above-average winter for snowstorms.
Jones and his department keep a running tally of the “plowable” snowstorms. The storm on Tuesday will be number 15 this year.
“On an average year, we’re between 7 and 10,” he said.
James Brown, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Gray, said Monday that Maine is already roughly two feet above normal snowfall for this time of year. As of Sunday, the totals according to National Weather Service records in Portland is 75.5 inches. Brown said the average for this point in the season is 51.8 inches.
“For the month of March, we’re probably way above normal at this point,” he said.
But, he said, with most of March and all of April remaining, the numbers could either grow, or level off into a more average year.
Jones said that according to Public Works’ records, average snowfall has been roughly 70 inches. With the plowable snowstorms and added precipitation, Jones said Lewiston’s total this year is about 93. The city will be well over 100 inches if Tuesday’s storm stays on track, he said.
“Quite frankly, by the looks of the timing for this storm, you should plan to be home and hunkered down by around noon tomorrow as it looks like the afternoon will be downright ugly,” Jones wrote on the community Facebook page Lewiston Rocks. “Be safe out there!”
As the storm approaches Tuesday, Brown said the precipitation will most likely begin by 4-5 a.m. Tuesday and continue nearly 24 hours into Wednesday morning.
Tuesday’s storm won’t feature as much of the high winds as last week’s but along the coast could still see 15-20 m.p.h winds with gusts up to 40 m.p.h., he said.
Lewiston officials issued a parking ban effective Tuesday, March 13 at 6 p.m. until noon on Wednesday, March 14.
In Auburn, a parking ban will begin Tuesday at 12 p.m. and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. The city has a downtown parking district that is exempt from the ban from 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Brown said there’s always a chance this time of year for more snow, but said now in mid-March, the odds are dwindling.
“If you look ahead to next week, it’s pretty quiet,” he said. “We’re getting to that point in the year when it might be too warm for the next one.”
Dan Bilodeau of Auburn rides through powder while snowmobiling Monday along the West Auburn Road in Auburn. Bilodeau said trail conditions have been “fantastic” since last Thursday’s storm dumped about 16 inches on the Lewiston/Auburn area. Bilodeau said while the sledding has been super, trails leading to and across water are dangerous this time of year. The recent week of temperatures in the 50s melted a lot of the ice that snowmobilers depend on to cross bodies of water. Tuesday’s storm will make conditions in the woods and fields even better, but will do nothing for trails over frozen water. “Water bodies are not safe,” said Bilodeau, the trail master for the Perkins Ridge Sno-Travelers snowmobile club. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Cancellations and Closings:
• Auburn Schools
• Lewiston Schools
• St. Dominic Academy, both locations
• Monmouth Town Office
• RSU 52 Leeds, Turner, Greene
• RSU 61 Bridgton, Naples, Casco, Sebago
• RSU 16 Poland, Minot, Mechanic Falls
• SAD 15, Gray/New Gloucester
• Town of Gray
• USM L/A
• Central Maine Community College
• Lewiston/Auburn College
• University College at Norway-South Paris and Rumford/Mexico
The Lewiston Public Works Department keeps its own records on annual snowfall and “plowable” snowstorms. Here’s what they’ve recorded so far for 2017-18: