Paul Madore of Lewiston, right, shops for batteries Thursday at Paris Farmers Union in Lewiston to prepare for Friday’s wind storm. “Yesterday I came in and got AA’s and C’s and D batteries. They are all for flashlights,” Madore said. He said he raided his camper for flashlights, and was picking up a battery for a magnifying glass with a flashlight. “If you don’t have a backup, you are stuck,” he said. Madore is helped by employee Jordon Francoeur. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Merry Christmas. Break out the galoshes. 

With the big holiday just around the corner, weather forecasters are warning that the storm moving in Friday, with high winds, cold temperatures and flooding, is apt disrupt a whole lot of Christmas plans. 

Mike Haggett of Pine Tree Weather had some firm advice on this matter Thursday. 

“Today is the day to get storm preparation completed as it will be game on by morning,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “If you have a fridge full of uncooked food, you may want to cook it today, so you don’t throw it away in case of an extended outage. If you do not have to travel on Friday, don’t. Stay off the roads. Sight-seeing in high-wind events is dangerous due to flying debris. My hope and prayer is that we can get out of this storm without any lost souls due to something foolish and preventable.” 

Why so much caution about just another winter storm in late December? Consider the potential mayhem: High-wind warnings were in place for just about all of the state. A flood watch was continuing for all but the northern areas as rivers and streams are expected to swell. There’s a coastal flood warning for the shorelines, too, and a storm warning, to boot. 

“I am confident that this one won’t be easily forgotten,” Haggett said, “and will be discussed around holiday gatherings for a number of years.” 


Some media have taken to deeming the coming weather as “The Grinch Storm.” Haggett doesn’t personally go for naming storms, but he can see the sense in this one. 

“For a high-impact weather event this close to Christmas that will likely spoil many parties, he said, “it’s perfect.”  

The National Weather Service in Gray put it this way: 

“A major storm will be heading into the area tomorrow into the holiday weekend,” it wrote Thursday afternoon. “High astronomical tides, high wind, storm surge, heavy rain, and rapidly falling temperatures will lead to multiple concurrent weather hazards in effect.” 

Wind gusts during the storm are expected to gust at between 45 and 65 mph across the state. Those winds will be timed with heavy rain and other precipitation, which is expected to begin in the south and western portions of the state in the wee hours Friday morning. With that noxious combination continuing into Friday evening, there are expectations that power outage numbers may reach six figures. 

Still drying off after last week’s soggy storm, Central Maine Power crews are expecting to go on high alert one more time. 


“In addition to our own CMP crews, we currently have over 300 contractor crews and 220 tree crews positioned in Maine to be able to respond to Friday’s weather event,” Adam Desrosiers, vice president Electric Operations for CMP, said. “We expect that the high wind gusts forecasted to impact the entire service area, with especially strong gusts along the coast, will cause outages on Friday. We will be making roads and public areas safe from downed wires and trees and restoring power as quickly as we can. We all know it is a holiday weekend and CMP is planning to work through it.” 

Power outages are particularly concerning for weather forecasters as temperatures are expected to plummet to subfreezing numbers — what Haggett calls a ‘flash freeze chaser” — on the heels of the storm. Those frigid temps are expected to last through Christmas, creating dangerous conditions for those without heat and for CMP crews working to restore power. 

According to some models, temperatures may drop fast, possibly falling 20 to 30 degrees over a five-minute span as a front moves in early Saturday morning. The sudden cold will bring with it a fresh round of trouble. 

“With all of the water and flooding from the rain,” Haggett wrote, in a late Thursday afternoon report, “this is the final insult to be delivered from the storm. It may make you want to burn your Trans-Siberian Orchestra records if you step outside and end up on the ground. You need to keep the salt and sand handy here. This is going to freeze about as fast as a Zamboni resurfacing an ice rink.” 

Flooding along major rivers is a great concern, as well. In some areas along the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers, major roads could get washed over, and all that in subfreezing cold and winds still blowing. 

“This is going to be brutal to have flooding with temperatures below freezing as it happens,” Haggett said. “While there is little ice on the rivers to be concerned for jam issues, it’s likely to be a horrific mess there and any other area of flooding that happens — and expect many areas to flood.” 


The potential for flash flooding is expected to ramp up about 3 p.m. Friday. 

The storm is expected to produce the dreaded ‘wintry mix,” a sloppy, unpleasant blending of rain and snow that promises to vex those trying to wrap up their Christmas plans. 

Most areas of the state are expected to see between 2 and 3 inches of rain by the time the storm winds down Saturday. Western areas may see as much as 5 inches. There’s also the possibility of an inch or two of snow — creating further peril for motorists — while northern parts of the state may get higher amounts. 

About 4 p.m. Thursday, it was announced that all state offices would be closed Friday. Elsewhere, it was the usual prestorm buzz of activity. Grocery stores were jammed full of people stocking up on food and other supplies in preparation for a shut-in weekend. 

“Could not even get into the Hannaford parking lot,” a man at the Auburn store said. 

“The lines were outrageous,” a man from Lewiston said.


At hardware stores and the like, there was also a stream of people getting prepared. At Paris Farmers  Union in Lewiston, a store manager said items like lamp oil, stove pellets and batteries were being gobbled up fast. 

Gas stations, too, were lively with people fueling their cars and filling cans of gasoline for emergency generators.  

Angela Molino, director of the Androscoggin County Emergency Management Agency, said her team was monitoring the weather and consulting with CMP and Maine Emergency Management as the storm approaches. The major worries as of late Thursday afternoon were of potentially widespread power outages and dangerous road conditions over the holiday weekend.

Molino had some advice to share, as well.

“In case of a power outage,” she said, “be prepared by gathering supplies in advance of the storm, locate batteries, flashlights, bottled water, nonperishable food, pet food, medication, blankets, and charge devices. If you must travel, bring an emergency supply kit for your car, which includes warm clothes, blankets, snacks, full tank of gas, bottled water and car chargers.”

And then she added one final message for all to bear in mind: “Stay safe, Androscoggin County.” 

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