First major winter storm expected to graze Midcoast
With Winter Storm Fortis headed for New England, parts of Maine are expected to get a foot and a half of snow or more, but forecasters say the Midcoast should escape largely unscathed, as far as precipitation is concerned.
A High Wind Warning is posted for Knox and coastal Waldo County from 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, through noon Friday, Dec. 30. Winds will be from the southeast at 30 to 40 miles per hour, gusting to 60 mph, resulting in some power outages. According to the National Weather Service at Gray, winds will be strongest during the late evening hours along the coast. Winds will become westerly and strengthen again after midnight.
According to VStv Chief Meteorologist Tyler Southard, a cold front moving toward the East Coast will give life to a coastal low pressure system that will track through New England with heavy rain and snow. Snow and rain will begin Thursday morning, and pick up in intensity through the day.
This will be a mainly rain event for coastal locations, with milder air pulling in off the ocean with highs in some location reaching the 40s. Meanwhile inland, cold air will be locked in allowing for a mainly heavy snow event. The gradient of snow totals will steadily increase as you go inland as you transition from rain, to a mix, to all snow. Western Maine (especially the mountains) look to be the jackpot with 1 to 2 feet likely in some locations.
This storm will also bring strong winds that will result in hazardous seas and isolated power outages. The outage potential increases inland in areas of heavy snow. Southeast winds will increase through Thursday with with the strongest occurring Thursday night and Friday morning as they becoming westerly. Sustained winds will reach 20 to 30mph with gusts between 35 to 45mph. Seas will swell through Thursday eventually reaching 4 to 7 feet for Penobscot Bay but Thursday night and 10 to 15 feet for the northern Gulf of Maine.
Snow and rain will taper off Friday morning with gradually clearing and cooling into the weekend with lows into the teens Friday night and highs in the 20s on Saturday.