LEWISTON — Just after 8 p.m., with a local bank sign flashing 12 degrees and a stiff wind kicking up snow, Maurizio Cigarini and Massimiliano Cerri wrestled IKEA furniture from a waiting U-Haul up three flights of stairs to Cigarini’s new apartment on Lisbon Street.

He had just moved from Italy to Lewiston for work.

And yes, they realized he’d picked the eve of a blizzard for moving day.

“Tomorrow is worse,” Cerri said with a shrug and a smile between trips.

Much worse.

On Valentine’s Day, the sweet news was that the National Weather Service in Gray scaled back its estimated snowfall totals for the impending storm 3 to 6 inches for the Twin Cities and by 8 p.m. there were only a few inches on the ground.


But it still meant 10 to 14 inches of snow expected to pound the area through noon Sunday.

“The impacts are still going to be high because you’re still going to have blowing, drifting snow, very low visibility and extremely chilly temperatures,” said meteorologist John Cannon.

Most of the coast was forecast to receive 14 to 16 inches of snow and the Western Maine mountains 6 to 8 inches. Wind gusts were forecast to reach as high as 50 mph along the coast and 35 to 40 mph in the Lewiston area.

The lowered snowfall predictions were a result of the storm being more fragmented than anticipated, Cannon said, and gathering more steam farther to the east.

It was too soon to say whether Maine would see its second blizzard of the year with this storm, but, “we’ll find out shortly,” he said.

The weather service’s official blizzard criteria: 35-mph or higher winds, heavy snow or blowing snow, visibility of one-quarter mile or less, lasting three hours or more.


The National Weather Service did have a blizzard warning in effect through early Sunday afternoon.

The Maine Turnpike Authority urged drivers to skip nonessential travel on Sunday, expecting roads could be “treacherous,” according to a news release.

Central Maine Power said it was at the ready, lining up outside contract crews in case there were wide power outages.

“The snow is expected to be dry and less likely to coat tree limbs and wires, so high winds and slippery roads are likely to be the primary cause of any outages,” spokeswoman Gail Rice said in a news release. “We are also very concerned about the working conditions for our crews, who will face difficult travel, high winds, and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills.”

South of Maine, National Weather Service meteorologist William Babcock forecast winds as high as 75 mph on Cape Cod, according to The Associated Press.

The AP also reported that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had encouraged drivers to stay off the roads and officials were worried about power outages and flooding along the coast. Logan International Airport had canceled more than 250 flights for Sunday because of the storm.

The snow had started to come down steadily in the Twin Cities by 5 p.m., but that didn’t deter Edward Berube of Lewiston as he zipped up Park Street, against the flow of traffic, in his electric wheelchair. He was out taking a post-dinner cruise to see what he could see, a “God Bless America” flag flapping behind him in the wind. The weather didn’t bother him at all.

“I wish I could pipe this into my bedroom,” Berube said. “As cold as it is, you sleep like a baby sleeps.”

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