Weather was a big topic to end 2017 and 2018 began with brutal, record breaking cold across the region. Attention is now turning to our first big snowstorm of the year that will impact the Midcoast Thursday and early Friday with snow totals of 12" to 18" likely and wind gusts nearing hurricane force strength.

Temperatures and clouds have both been on the increase Wednesday ahead of our next storm with high temperatures climbing back into the 20s. Relatively speaking, this feels like a heat wave after struggling to climb higher than the single digits and low teens over the past week. All will be quiet Wednesday night as the storm system moves up the eastern seaboard while rapidly intensifying. The center of the storm will pass by just offshore Thursday moving from SW to NE through the Gulf of Maine. A slight shift west in the current track could mean more mixing at the coast and heavier totals for far western Maine and New Hampshire while a shift east would mean little to no mixing along the coast or Downeast Maine with the highest totals over eastern Maine.


Thursday Morning – 6am to noon

Light snow will begin across the Midcoast between daybreak and 8am Thursday morning and become steadier during the mid to late morning. Winds will start out of the NE between 5-15mph around sunrise and increase to 15-25mph by noon. A coating to 2" of snow will be possible during this period.


Thursday Afternoon – noon to 4pm

As we head into the afternoon, conditions will deteriorate quickly so travel will not be advised with low visibility and blowing and drifting heavy snow. This will likely be the strongest period of wind for the storm. Snow will become heavy with sustained NE winds increasing to 20-40mph with gusts between 40-65mph. The strongest winds will be measured along the immediate coast and higher elevations of the coastal foothills. It is possible that hurricane force wind gusts between of 70-80mph could be produced for the peninsulas of the Midcoast and outer islands. Blizzard conditions will be possible during this time which means winds sustained or frequent gusts of 35mph and visibility less than 1/4mile for at least 3 consecutive hours. 4" to 7" of snow will be possible during this period.


Thursday Early Night – 4pm to Midnight

Heavy snow will continue to fall during this period with some mixing of sleet possible along the immediate coast and some sleet and rain for far Downeast Maine. Winds will turn out of the north by 6pm and then northwest by 9pm with sustained speeds of 20-40mph but gusts will be down some between 30-50mph.  4" to 7" of snow will be possible during this period.


Late Night – Midnight to 6am Friday

Snow will taper off after midnight with a few lingering flurries or snow showers possible. Winds will stay breezy out of the west and northwest at 15 to 30mph sustained with gusts up to 40mph. An additional dusting to 2" will be possible during this period.



Clouds will linger across the region on Friday with a flurry or snow showers possible with a coating to 1". Cold air will surge in through the day with temperatures gradually cooling. Temperatures will reach the single digits by the afternoon with wind chill values of -10 to -20.


The Weekend

Bitter cold will set up over the weekend with record low temperatures possible. Highs on Saturday will be between 0 and -10 with overnight lows of -10 to -25. Wind chill values could become very dangerous during the overnight, between -30 to -40. There will be some warming for Sunday with highs back into the single digits and low teens with a mix of sun and clouds.


Marine Impacts

A storm warning is in effect. Strong winds and possible hurricane force wind gusts will help generate high seas and create coastal flooding during this storm. Wave heights for Penobscot Bay will build between 3 to 6 feet Thursday then subside to 2 to 4 feet on Friday. The northern Gulf of Maine will see waves building between 12 to 17 feet on Thursday then subside to 7 to 12 feet on Friday. Minor coastal flooding will be possible around high tide around noon on Thursday and then again around 1am Friday.


Power Outages

Outages will be possible during this storm especially during the afternoon and early night Thursday. Have a plan in place and supplies on standby if the power goes out. With bitter cold returning for the weekend it is important to have a backup shelter in mind in case of prolonged outages in more remote cases.