The first official day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere arrives on March 20, but before winter starts to fade, Mainers will get yet another dose of chilling winds and heavy snow.
On Sunday night, the National Weather Service office in Gray issued a winter storm watch for the state effective at midnight Monday and lasting through 8 a.m. Wednesday, a heads-up that another nor’easter is about to blow into the state.
Meteorologist Andy Pohl said the second nor’easter to blast Maine in five days will start producing snow during the pre-dawn hours Tuesday. The snow will continue throughout the day and evening, making the morning and evening commutes treacherous, before ending late Tuesday or early Wednesday, he said.
Unless the storm track changes, Pohl predicts Portland will be buried under a foot of snow and possibly more, with the rest of the state looking at 12 to 18 inches.
During last week’s nor’easter, Portland received 15.7 inches, making it the city’s ninth-largest March snowstorm on record.
Over the weekend, weather service meteorologist Chris Kimble developed a chart of the top 10 late-winter snowstorms in Portland dating back to 1916, and spotted a disturbing trend.
“We came across something ominous. Of the top 10 biggest March snowstorms, four of them have occurred on March 12-14, including a 16-inch storm just last year,” Kimble said in a Facebook post.
The largest March snowstorm ever recorded in Portland – 21.9 inches – happened on March 12-14, 1939.
“Depending on how (Tuesday’s storm) tracks, it could be another big one. History is apparently on its side,” Kimble said.