St. John Valley

Winter storm watch in effect for northern Aroostook

CARIBOU, Maine — Spring may be here, but the snow isn’t going away yet. The National Weather Service in Caribou just issued a winter storm watch for northern Aroostook County. The storm watch indicates the potential for 7 to 10 inches of snow from Tuesday evening through midnight on Wednesday, with the brunt of the amount in the St. John Valley.

Meteorologist Victor Nouhan of the Caribou National Weather Service said Tuesday morning that the forecast was still subject to change, but it’s a “close call,” and there’s no guarantee that the actual snowfall totals will precisely line up with the predictions.

With that said, forecasters predict up to 10 inches in the Fort Kent area, with totals dropping off further south. Caribou is forecast to get five to six inches while the Houlton area should only get about two, according to the NWS.

Nouhan said the Bangor and Portland areas may get a slight dusting, which is expected to quickly change to rain.

“There is a sleet component to this storm,” Nouhan said. “That will occur particularly in the late morning and early afternoon [on Wednesday],” adding that this will affect travel throughout Aroostook, but primarily in the St. John Valley.

The meteorologist said snow in early April is very common, particularly in The County, and that this isn’t even close to the latest the region has received snow.

While Caribou snowfall records only go back to 1939, he said that the latest Caribou has received over five inches of snow was on May 16 in 2016.

“It was 5.5 inches in the Caribou area, but there was more in northern and western Aroostook around the Perham area up through western Woodland and New Sweden,” he said. “They maxed out around eight inches.”

Nouhan added that insignificant snow has fallen in The County as late as June, but that it was only a light dusting.

The NWS storm watch warns of the possibility of tree damage and power outages due to sleet and ice.

He said drivers should exercise caution.

“The sleet will play a significant role,” Nouhan said, “and some areas may have a decent amount.”

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