LEWISTON — A storm set to bring more than a foot of snow and wind gusts of up to 30 mph has prompted the governor to close state offices Thursday and Central Maine Power staging extra crews.

Gov. Janet Mills directed all state offices to close Thursday, and Lewiston and Auburn announced parking bans from 11 p.m. Wednesday until 7 a.m. Friday.

Several Maine energy suppliers issued notices Wednesday telling customers that crews are preparing for the worst.

Central Maine Power increased overnight coverage at service centers and were pre-staging extra crews for outages.

Unitil Corp. Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said his company, a natural gas and electricity provider, always keeps an eye on the type of precipitation expected from big storms.

“With a messy storm like the one forecast, what we monitor closely is the type of precipitation that falls and the consistency of any snow,” O’Meara said. “Sleet and normal to dry snow tend not to stick to surfaces, while freezing rain and wet, heavy snow can damage trees and tree branches, which can cause outages.”


Stephen Baron, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Gray, said the storm will come from two separate systems with an hour break between Thursday afternoon. Other than accumulations reaching over a foot of snow, there isn’t anything extraordinary about the storms, he said.

“(Wednesday) into Thursday afternoon is going to be the biggest snow event and Lewiston-Auburn’s looking like they’re in the 8- to 12-inch range,” Baron said. “It’ll be a little bit lower for the north. We’re fairly confident, in that area, they’re not going to see as much of the rain and sleet mixing in as areas south will.”

The second system will come Thursday night through Friday morning and bring 2 to 3 inches of snow, but much of Southern Maine will get a mix of sleet and rain, he said.

Pine Tree Weather forecaster Mike Haggett said after the last storm, it’s difficult to get anecdotal about this week’s weather because the last storm had so many other factors that won’t be seen this time, such as record low temperatures, burst water pipes and flooding.

“This is just an old-fashion snow event,” he said. “Fluffy snow and, yes, it’s going to blow around a bit on Thursday, but it’s a hard time getting fired up about it. Yeah, some places are going to get 8 to 16 inches out of this over two days, but it’s fairly manageable. We’re Maine. We get 8- to 16-inch storms,” he said. “Just like mother used to make.”

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