2:08 P.M.: AUGUSTA (AP) — Most Maine state offices are closing early due to heavy snow that’s causing dangerous travel conditions.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage said that state offices will close at 2 p.m. Monday, except for those in Aroostook County.

LePage is urging all residents to drive slowly and keep a safe distance behind other vehicles. He says drivers need to make sure they’re giving snow plows enough room to operate.

2:05 P.M.: AUBURN — Monday’s City Council workshop and meeting has been postponed and rescheduled for Feb. 9. The workshop will be at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting at 7 p.m. 

1:55 P.M.: LEWISTON — The city announced it would be shutting down non-emergency city services at 3 p.m. Monday.


LEWISTON — Heavy snow is pummeling much of Maine as a new round of winter weather immobilizes parts of the state for another day.

It’s the third large storm in a seven-day period that is expected to drop between eight and 12 inches of snow or more.

The storm, which hit most of the eastern United States, started to dump as much as an inch of snow per hour starting in the Twin Cities at about 7 a.m.

The weather, which is expected to continue throughout the day on Monday and into Tuesday morning, also prompted the Legislature to cancel all meetings Monday including public hearings and workshops for a variety of legislative committees.

Androscoggin County Court in Auburn closed its doors at 10 a.m. Monday.

Also moved to Monday, Feb. 9, was Maine Department of Labor job fair that was scheduled for the Lewiston Career Center.  More than 20 local companies that have openings were expected to participate.


Residents are recovering from last week’s storms, which dropped close to three feet of snow in parts of the state. Monday’s storm is expected to drop more than 14 additional inches on the Downeast part of the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Hawley says Portland, Sanford and Brunswick will likely get 10 inches while far northern Maine is more likely to get 3 to 5 inches. A winter storm warning is in effect for most of Maine. Hawley says it is likely to be a cold, windy storm; Portland currently has a wind chill of minus 14.

And while many were groaning over the prospects of clearing another foot or more of snow from their driveways and walks at least some were revelling in the seemingly endless snowfall.

Matt Sabasteanski, director of outdoor recreation at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, which runs a cross-country ski center, said the new snow was more than welcomed. Sabasteanski said most would prefer the wind would go away, however.

“(The snow) is white gold for us,” Sebasteanski said. “These big storms are really helpful but this blowing snow is really difficult.” He said the wind, especially in open spaces, was scouring some trails to near bare ground while it was creating up to 5-foot drifts in other places.

“The interesting piece that people don’t always think about is the wind,” Sabasteanski said. He noted any warm up or rain in the future could, surprisingly, make it difficult for Nordic centers to keep “connectivity” between trails.


He said the previous storm that hit the region Friday when the snow was, “falling straight to the ground is perfect.”

This story will be updated.

Weather Updates

PARIS — The SAD 17 Board of Directors meeting has been canceled for Monday due to the snowstorm.  School officials canceled classes district-wide  for Monday.

Meanwhile in Punxsutawney, Pa., Groundhog Club handler Ron Ploucha, right, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, as Jeff Lundy, left, reads Phil’s weather proclamation of six-more weeks of winter during the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said Monday the furry rodent has forecast six more weeks of winter.

Members of the top hat-wearing Inner Circle announced the “prediction” Monday morning.


A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

The forecast was also announced on Twitter, as was referenced in the official proclamation read by Jeff Lundy, the Fair Weatherman of the Inner Circle.

“Forecasts abound on the Internet, but, I, Punxsutawney Phil am still your best bet. Yes, a shadow I see, you can start to Twitter, hash tag: Six more weeks of winter!”

The forecast was delivered after a steady pre-dawn rain turned to snow as temperatures dropped from the high 30s to around freezing. They were forecast to keep dropping over much of the state, prompting the state Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit to 45 mph for many interstate highways which were already wet and expected to freeze or be covered with snow as the day wore on.

The rain kept some revelers away, with state police estimating the crowd at around 11,000, slightly smaller than in recent years when upward of 15,000 attended.

No mention was made of Sunday night’s Super Bowl, unlike Groundhog Day 2009 — the last time the celebration occurred the morning after the big game — which was won by the nearby Pittsburgh Steelers that year.

Despite the German legend, Phil’s handlers don’t wait to see if he sees his shadow — as he likely would not have on such an overcast day. Instead, the Inner Circle decide on the forecast ahead of time and announce it on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill in the town for which the groundhog is named, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records going back to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 17 times. There are no records for the remaining years.

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