LEWISTON — You know how it goes. It's either going to be the Storm of a Lifetime or just another humdrum heap of snow to be shoveled, plowed and grumbled about.
It depends on your frame of mind.
The National Weather Service in Gray is calling for 18 to 24 inches for Central Maine by the time the big wallop ends sometime Saturday. Six inches at least. But probably more like two feet.
The media is running with it one way or another.
"Possible record-breaking storm," announced a headline on the Bangor Daily News website.
"Get ready for the storm," trumpeted the WMTW website.
Some TV news websites were posting hour-by-hour storm forecasts so nobody has to miss a single detail, even if they kind of want to. Others had no mention of the storm at all on their websites. It was like a wait-and-see game of headline chicken.
The NWS itself was stirring the excitement with lively comments on its Facebook page.
"Well," the meteorologists posted at about 3:45 p.m. "This is what you have all been waiting for. ... Confidence is growing that this is going to be a significant storm."
And from there, opinions varied. You could either jump up and down and head for the grocery store or just roll your eyes and yawn with beautiful nonchalance.
"Gosh," wrote one young woman. "That's a lot of snow."
"It's going to be a French Toast Storm on Friday," opined a less impressed fellow. "And by that I mean that everyone will go to the grocery store tomorrow and all they will buy is bread, eggs and milk."
Impressed or otherwise, you scoff at your own peril. Somebody named the storm Nemo and there will be no trouble finding it.
Snow is expected to start on Thursday evening and continue all day Friday and into Saturday. It's set to hit southern Maine harder, with 18 to 24 inches predicted for Lewiston-Auburn and Midcoast Maine. Towns farther north — including Oxford, Norway, Farmington and Rumford — are set to get 12 to 18 inches.
The weather service predicts snow-covered roads with wind up to 20 mph and visibility a quarter mile or less.
School officials are already prepared: To close schools or to not close schools, this is the question.
"The storm is on our radar," Auburn Schools Superintendent Katy Grondin said. "We shall be watching it closely."
Some were talking about the real Big One, the so-called Storm of '78 that dropped more than 2 feet of snow on the region and brought hurricane-force winds along just for fun. That blizzard lasted two days, and it also was in early February.
The storm will affect our lives whether we scoff or scream. There's high school basketball, hockey, wrestling, cheerleading, track and field. Schedules are expected to get disrupted as games are postponed and frantic adjustments are made to schedules.
At L/A Arts, show organizers have been receiving inquiries from people wondering about the Ladysmith Black Mambazo show slated for Friday night. As of Wednesday night, the news was good.
"Our update for now," the L/A Arts Facebook page stated, "is that the show is still set for Friday, and we of course will keep you up to date on any changes."
Meanwhile, police are already mulling parking bans. Cities and town crews are preparing to send out their plows and to be ready for the unexpected emergencies that always seem to arise.
At the grocery stores Wednesday night, there wasn't exactly a mad rush for the aforementioned bread, milk and eggs. All seemed normal at Shaw's in Lewiston and other stores in the area. One man, asked for his thoughts on the approaching blizzard, launched into a small rant.
"It's Maine," he said. "We get snow, and now we're going to get some more. Big deal. Get over it."
Naomi LaRochelle Williams of Mechanic Falls made the same observation but with a entirely different emotional viewpoint.
"Very excited," she said Wednesday night. "Bring it on! After all, it's winter in Maine!"