Thursday, December 19, 2013
By Tom Bell email@example.com
The National Weather Service says a nor'easter will hit Maine late Wednesday night, bringing mostly heavy rain along the coast and a mixture of sleet, snow and rain inland and in the mountains.
While the storm is likely to be more serious in New York and New Jersey, which are still trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy, it is not expected to cause significant problems in Maine.
"It's just a normal storm. No more superstorms," said Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray. "We'll have to contend with plain old winter."
She said the storm has all the markings of a "classic nor'easter."
With high-wind and coastal-flood watches in effect, the likely result of what the National Weather Service is calling "a particularly dangerous situation" will be more trauma for New York and New Jersey, which are still picking up the pieces from Sandy.
Although storm surges and wave heights will not be in a league with Sandy's, the storm is expected to set off more flooding in towns where dunes were leveled last week.
Major coastal flooding again is possible, and moderate coastal flooding is likely, said Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, N.J.
The federal government launched an initiative to coordinate fuel distribution, eliminating bureaucratic hurdles to combat a shortage that has left 27 percent of gas stations dry in the New York metropolitan area.
Local officials were also scrambling to respond. Some beachfront communities considered new evacuation orders. The Red Cross said it would assemble 80,000 blankets to distribute as temperatures dropped into the 30s.
As the storm travels toward Maine over the ocean from the south, its low-pressure center will pass to the east of the state. The winds will come from the northeast, bringing with it cold air from Canada, Curtis said.
"It's a real classic setup," she said.
She said areas along the Maine coast and in the mountains can expect wind gusts of 40 mph. Seas will be 10 to 15 feet.
From 1891 to 2011, the average date for Portland to receive its first measurable snow of the season has been Nov. 20. The earliest date for snowfall in Portland is Sept. 15, in 1959.
The National Weather Service says some areas of Maine could receive several inches of combined precipitation.
-- McClatchy Newspapers contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: