St. John Valley

Wet Friday, dropping temps expected to make for icy Saturday in County

Road conditions were icy in the region Friday morning and expected to become precarious again Friday evening and Saturday, as temperatures drop and rain turns to mixed precipitation.

The forecast prompted the NWS to issue a winter weather advisory for northern Maine early Friday morning that is in effect 3 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, warning residents of ice on the roads making travel difficult. Ice accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch are expected.

Slick road conditions appeared to have caused one tractor trailer to go off the road along a stretch of Route 161 at about 6:40 a.m. Friday near New Sweden. Temperatures in The County were rising quickly though, with highs at or around 50 degrees forecast for the day.

“Today should be just wet,” meteorologist Richard Norton of the National Weather Service said Friday morning. “This evening an arctic front will move through.”

At about 11 a.m., Friday, however, the weather service issued another alert about the “heavy rain and record temperatures” accelerating snowmelt Friday afternoon and evening creating the potential for clogged storm drains and flooding in some areas.

“Motorists should be alert for ponding of water on road surfaces,” the alert states.

Norton said that temperatures will drop drastically starting at sunset, going from near 40 degree Fahrenheit in the late afternoon to only the teens by Saturday morning.

People can expect mixed precipitation changing to snow, according the NWS advisory.
The NWS also forecast total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches through Saturday.

With some wind, drivers also should be prepared for reduced visibility.

Several sporting events scheduled for Friday night and Saturday were cancelled in advance in anticipation of poor travel conditions. Officials called off a Nordic ski meet scheduled Friday at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle and Saturday’s alpine meet in Fort Kent. The Presque Isle girls’ and boys’ home basketball games against Orono on Saturday were postponed and Saturday’s hockey game between the Houlton-Hodgdon-Southern Aroostook-Katahdin Black Hawks at John Bapst was called off.

Environment Canada also issued a weather warning Friday morning for flash freezing, freezing rain, snowfall and heavy rains in the Edmundston, New Brunswick, area.

“A changeover to freezing rain is expected tonight and into Saturday resulting in a prolonged period of freezing rain with significant ice accretion. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Ice build-up may cause tree branches to break. Utility outages may occur,” the agency warned.

Norton said travel conditions in Aroostook and the rest of Maine will likely vary depending on location and total precipitation.

“It all depends on the total rainfall and when road crews can get out to salt and sand,” he said.

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