The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch in effect for Monday. The storm will hit Maine with intense, heavy snow, rain, strong winds and possible power outages.

“We are expecting a period of heavy snowfall during the morning at a rate of 1 inch per hour before it changes to rain” in Portland, said meteorologist Chris Kimble of the weather service office in Gray. He forecast heavy snow in Portland between 6 and 10 a.m., making it tough for plows crews to clear roads. Driving will likely be difficult, he said. Heavy rain could follow the snow along with strong winds at the coast.

Parts of central Maine will likely get a mix of snow, rain and wind on Monday.

NWS graphic

People should prepare for potential power outages on Monday, especially in coastal areas, with the heavy snow and rain combined with wind gusts as high as 60 miles per hour, Kimble said. There could be coastal flooding.

Central Maine Power spokeswoman Emily Spencer said Saturday the power company has been preparing for Monday’s storm for several days, and is ready to respond to outages. 

She advises electricity customers to take extra steps to prepare for a power outage, including having extra batteries and flashlights on hand, a battery-powered radio, food and cell phones fully charged. 

CMP also recommends that customers turn off major appliances during an outage to prevent damage when the power is restored, and to take precautions when using emergency generators. 

Farther inland, some parts of Maine could get a foot of snow on Monday, Kimble said, good news for snowmobilers and skiers since snowfall has been below normal.

On Saturday, the wind chill gave the area the coldest day of the winter so far, according to the weather service.

The temperature dipped to 1 degree in Portland early in the day, but the wind chill meant it felt like 22 degrees below zero, Kimble said.


Wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour kept that icy grip in place from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. “This is the coldest wind chill we’ve seen this winter,” Kimble said. Even later on Saturday at 2 p.m., the temperature was only 8 degrees. “That’s pretty cold,” he said.

In other parts of Maine, the wind chill made it feel like minus 24 degrees in Lewiston, minus 21 in Augusta, minus 36  in Caribou, and minus 59 on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, according to the weather service.

The wind and cold didn’t create problems for early flights out of the Portland International Jetport, said airport manager Paul Bradbury. “The air was nice and dry,” he said. That translates into good air density, meaning “it’s easier to take off. There’s more lift,” Bradbury said. “There were no issues.”

The average low in Portland for this time of year is 16 degrees, but subzero low temperatures are expected during the winter. “But we haven’t had that many in recent years. It got to zero twice this week,” Kimble said. The month of December, however, was unusually warm.

On Saturday night the forecast called for temperatures in Portland to drop below zero, but with no wind. Interior parts of the state were likely see temperatures of 10 below late Saturday into early Sunday.

Sunday will be calm and start off cold, the high getting to 20, the weather service said.

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