Maine is done with heavy snow accumulations for now, but the Thanksgiving holiday week promises to bring extreme cold to the region.

Even though the official start of winter is still more than a month away, Thanksgiving Day temperatures could drop into the single digits, with high temperatures of 17 degrees forecast for Lewiston-Auburn and 22 degrees for Portland during the daytime hours.

Temperatures throughout the rest of the state will not be much warmer Thursday, with highs of 21 degrees in Waterville and Fryeburg, and 11 degrees in Jackman, Those temperatures are likely to drop into the single digits by the time the sun goes down, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

“Looking ahead to Thanksgiving Day, make sure you dress warm,” the National Weather Service said in a post on its Facebook page. “Some places could break the minimax (coldest high temperature for the day) records. Even if they don’t, it is still going to be a cold day.”

(National Weather Service map)

Before that, Mainers will have to deal with a smattering of snow to start the workweek. The snowfall will not be anywhere near what the region saw Friday, when a storm dumped 6.1 inches of snow at Portland International Jetport — the second-highest snowfall for that date going back to the 10.2-inch record set in 1997.

The National Weather Service is predicting 1 to 2 inches of snow will fall early Monday, with the same amount of light snow accumulating early Tuesday.

James Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said three different systems will move through the area, all bringing some snow with them.

“All are looking so far like light events,” he said.

But by Wednesday night, a blast of cold air from the Arctic will push through Maine, dropping temperatures in the region to winter-like well ahead of the start of the season. In the Northern Hemisphere, winter officially starts Dec. 21.

“Right now, we won’t be as cold every day after Thanksgiving Day,” Brown said, “but we may end up exceeding the ‘minimax’ for the day.”

Though it will be cold, Thanksgiving Day is looking like a good day for traveling. After the light snow falls Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service said the rest of the holiday week is looking dry and cold.

AAA is predicting that 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving — a 4.8 percent increase from last year.

“The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years, with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year,” according to AAA.

AAA attributes the increase in travelers to higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth.

“This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel’s senior vice president.

AAA also said that motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gasoline prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of Nov. 1 — 31 cents more than last year.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Jessica Lowell contributed to this report.

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