A major winter storm with heavy snow and strong winds has moved into Maine, making traveling treacherous. The worst of the storm is expected to last from daybreak until early afternoon.
"The heaviest snowfall totals are going to be right along the coast, where we could expect anywhere from 16 to 24 inches of snow, depending on the exact location," says National Weather Service Meteorologis Chris Legro, in Gray. "The highest amounts look to be down around the Kittery and York areas, and then we'll see snow gradually decrease as we head inland and then pretty quickly decrease as we head north of the mountains."
Legro says far northern Maine and the western mountains are expected to get 4 to 6 inches. He says wind will also be an issue.
"We're expecting the strongest winds also very near the coast, where we could expect during the height of the storm mid-morning to early afternoon wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour," he says. "And then we'll see those pretty quickly drop off as you head inland. But we're still expecting anything on the order of 25 to 30 miles an hour right on through the mountains and up into the county."
Schools across the state are closed today. Transportation has also been disrupted: The speed limit on the Maine Turnpike has been reduced to 45 miles per hour, with zero visibility from Kittery to Portland.
In Portland, officials are advising people to stay off the streets, where conditions are hazardous for pedestrians and vehicles alike.