Dan Bernard shovels off a sidewalk in the Old Port during the storm on Tuesday. Bernard said he has a desk job, but today is lending a hand with snow removal. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Snowfall on Tuesday closed state offices early and made roads slippery – but it wasn’t expected to bring February’s snow totals to normal levels.

The National Weather Service in Gray forecast 5 to 8 inches of snow in southern Maine by the time the storm ends early Wednesday.

Portland at 7 p.m. reported 5.7 inches of snow accumulation with up to another 3 inches falling overnight. Another significant snowstorm is expected Saturday, though the weather service said it is too early to predict how much.

“This week might turn out to be the snowiest week of winter for Portland,” meteorologist Jon Palmer said. Snowfall accumulations as of 5 p.m. varied widely and were likely to increase overnight, Palmer said.

Gray reported 6.1 inches of snow, Windham 5.8 inches, Topsham 5 inches, Shapleigh 6.5 inches, Saco 4.3 inches, Lisbon Falls 3.8 inches, and Hallowell 3.5 inches.

It snowed steadily in most places throughout the day Tuesday making for slippery driving conditions. Maine State Police tweeted that they had responded to more than 40 crashes and slide-offs on the Maine Turnpike since 5 a.m.


“That number is only expected to grow as troopers are seeing drivers driving too fast for weather conditions,” state police said.

In one crash, state police said, the driver of a van traveling north in Ogunquit lost control, hit the median, rolled over, hit the guardrail, and rolled back onto the road where it blocked the middle and travel lanes. Avocados and frozen fish spilled onto the turnpike, but the driver suffered only minor injuries.

At 1:30 p.m., Gov. Janet Mills directed state offices to close at 3 p.m. The weather service advised on Twitter: “Take it slow!”

The storm caused school cancellations and office closures around the region. But it did not seem to be knocking out power for many residents – Central Maine Power reported only one outage out of more than 600,000 customers just before noon. And only a small number of flights to and from the Portland International Jetport were canceled or delayed.

The fresh powder should boost the area’s snow totals after a lackluster winter.

February snowfall averages 20.4 inches in Portland, the weather service said. Before Tuesday, Portland had only recorded 7.6 inches of snowfall, while Gray had seen 8.5 inches.

The weather service is monitoring two additional systems for the first days of March – a weaker one that will bring light rain and snow late Wednesday and Thursday, and a stronger one likely to bring snow Friday night and Saturday.

“We are certainly behind normal for what we see,” said Jerry Combs, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Gray office. “Today will get us a little closer. We’ll see where we end up at the end of the day.”

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story

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