Just as the first weather system to bring snowfall to Lincoln County this weekend began to move out, a blizzard watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for a second system due to arrive Sunday.
Earlier on Saturday, steady snowfall was overspreading Lincoln County in advance of another, more robust system forecast to chug through the area from Sunday through Monday. Snowfall totals for both storms are now projected at between 18 and 24 inches, according to the NWS.
A winter storm warning issued by the NWS for the first weather system was withdrawn ahead of schedule on Saturday afternoon, with forecast snowfall accumulations in the range of 4-8 inches.
The second event has been upgraded by the NWS to a winter storm warning beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday through 4 a.m. Monday, now followed by a blizzard watch from late Sunday night through Monday evening.
The blizzard watch and the winter storm warning were added to the NWS forecast at 4:20 p.m. Saturday.
High winds are also in the forecast through the afternoon hours of Sunday into the evening hours of Monday, according to the NWS.
“Due to the high winds that are forecast, and the possibility of heavy, wet snow, we encourage residents to plan ahead, and prepare to be without utilities for at least 72 hours,” said Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Stevens.
Noting that there will be a short break in the weather between storms from the early morning to the mid-day hours of Sunday, Stevens urged the public to “use the time Sunday morning before the (next) storm to get prepared.”
Once the snowfall begins Sunday, Stevens urged residents to stay home and off the roads, which allows emergency responders and repair crews to conduct their work safely and without having to respond to incidents like slide-off traffic accidents.
Authorities are concerned that northeasterly winds forecast by the NWS, now forecast with sustained velocities of 30-40 mph and gusts up to 60 mph, will combine with heavy and possibly wet snowfall to down tree limbs and wires, causing power outages. The highest wind velocities will most likely be along the coastal areas of Lincoln County, according to forecasters.
Weather and road conditions will make power restoration efforts a challenge for crews from Central Maine Power Co. until the storm subsides Monday evening, and at that point any crews in the field will be working in darkness.
No outages were reported in Lincoln County during the first storm Saturday, according to CMP.
“A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” according to the NWS.
“A blizzard watch means there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibilities. This can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous,” according to the NWS.
The Lincoln County News will continue to post updates during these events.