Snow, cold on way today

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Mainers spent Sunday gearing up for what is expected to be the state’s first significant snow storm. It’s set to arrive early this morning.

Auburn Wal-Mart store manager Dave, who refused to give his last name, said that the store saw a surge in typical winter storm essentials on Sunday.

“We saw better than average sales on things like salt and ice-scrapers,” he said. Food staples like milk were also hot-ticket items, he added.

“Basically, people seem to be stocking up on items for their automobiles and refrigerators.”

While people stocked up for the long-awaited approaching storm, police around the state dealt with a rash of weather-related accidents.

The Maine State Police barracks in Gray reported about 24 weather-related accidents through out the day. The Oxford County and Franklin County Sheriff’s Departments estimated a total of five accidents each.

Twin Cities police, on the other hand, reported little trouble with Sunday’s weather.

“There were very few accidents today” resulting from the weather, Auburn police Lt. Tim Cougle said Sunday night.

Lewiston police recorded only two minor accidents through out the day.

Public works crews spent Sunday spreading salt to keep the number of slipping and sliding cars around Lewiston-Auburn to a minimum.

They were also busy preparing for today’s approaching snowfall.

“We’re all ready to go and just waiting for tomorrow’s storm to come,” said a night crew worker from the Auburn street department Sunday night.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Hayes, Sunday’s snow and wintry mix is just a precursor to today’s storm.

He predicts that snow will develop this morning, mix with sleet during the day and then return to mostly snow tonight. By the time the storm tapers to snow showers late tonight, Hayes expects a total accumulation of snow and sleet to reach 3-6 inches.

“Whatever falls is going to stick,” he warned.

That’s because high temperatures Tuesday night and Wednesday may not even reach 15 degrees. Furthermore, Hayes stressed, wind chills Wednesday morning will hover between 15 and 20 degrees below Fahrenheit.

“Kids at the bus stop Wednesday morning are going to be cold,” he said. “Colder than anything this year.”

“We’re returning to winter,” Hayes began to say, but quickly corrected himself. “Actually, it’s an arrival of winter.”

Eager for the appearance of old-man winter is area resident and snowmobiler Jamie Mower.

“I’m excited for the snow,” he said while filling up his gas tank Sunday night. “I’ve been watching the weather channel and it’s going to be a big one.”

WCSH-6’s Web site listed several cancellations and parking bans for Monday around the state.

Kids eager for a snow-day off from school did not find it with today’s storm, though. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a holiday recognized by schools around the state.

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