ELLSWORTH — Experts are warning weather-weary Mainers to brace for high winds, low visibility and even blizzard conditions Sunday and most of Monday, throughout much of the state.
Though snow will continue to fall, meteorologists with the National Weather Service stations in Gray and Caribou said Sunday that accumulation will be small compared to the blizzard that dumped up to 3 feet of snow on Feb. 8 and 9.
“That storm had a lot of snow and wind, this storm is going to be all wind, but not a lot of snow,” said Ken Wallingford, a meteorologist with the Caribou station.
Wallingford said a powerful snowstorm in the Gulf of Maine — several hundred miles off Cape Cod, Mass., as of noon Sunday — would move its way northeast toward Nova Scotia, where it would arrive Sunday night.
The storm will bring winds between 20 and 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, he said.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the eastern half of the state, he said, though the rest of the state will not be spared. Wind and winter weather advisories are in effect for southern and western Maine.
“For Portland, it’s currently snowing and really windy, with sea gusts up to 50 mph,” said meteorologist Margaret Curtis, of the NWS Gray station. “We have a wind advisory for the western half of the state. There’s a lot of blowing snow out there, not a lot of snow like the last one, just a couple inches in the south. But there’s a lot of blowing.”
An unrelated storm Saturday night dropped a few inches of light, powdery snow over much of the state, and more is expected to fall, totaling up to 12 inches by Monday evening. Wallingford urged Mainers to stay off the roads, if possible, as the winds pick up speed.
Around noon on Sunday, traffic cameras situated along Interstate 95 in southern Maine already showed low visibility and snowy roads. One camera, in Gray, appeared to have been covered by blowing snow.
“When you have the light, powdery snow we’ve had over the past 24 hours, and that we’ll keep getting, and then you blow that around with these winds, visibility goes down to nothing. It becomes impossible to drive safely,” he said.