We have seemingly been thrust into winter this week with the last of the leaves being stripped from trees, bitter cold setting in, and now widespread snow on the way. This will at least make for suitable weather for Santa's arrival next weekend in Rockland during the festival of lights. It will also make the Hallmark Christmas movies my wife began watching in October seem more appropriate now. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for all of Midcoast Maine from 1am to 4pm Friday with widespread accumulations of 4" to 8" of snow likely on Friday.

The first of the ingredients were set Wednesday and into Thursday as the coldest air of the season took hold over the region with lows dipping into the teens, highs struggling to make it out of the 20s, and windchill values dipping to the single digits at times. An upper level low over the Ohio River Valley will merge with surface low pressure over the Mid Atlantic Thursday night then move through the Gulf of Maine from west to east Friday driving a large slug of moisture into the cold air making for widespread snow. Snow will begin for the Midcoast after midnight and pick up in intensity fairly quickly through the early morning hours on Friday. There will likely be 1" to 3" on the ground before the sun rises. As we approach sunrise, milder air will try and penetrate inland along the coast changing snow over to a mix of snow, sleet, and rain which will likely continue until the early afternoon. Cold air will collapse back toward the coast during the early to mid afternoon changing everything back over to snow before tapering off during the evening and early night. Along with the winter mix, winds will be breezy out of the east and northeast through the morning before switching to more of a north to northwest wind late in the day with gusts up to 40mph possible. The strong wind gusts and wet heavy snow may result in power outages. Skies will gradually clear Friday night and into Saturday setting the stage for partly to mostly sunny skies for the weekend with highs in the 30s and 40s which will help melt some of the fresh snow.

Overall, 4" to 8" is a likely bet for most Midcoast locations with the caveat being the amount of sleet of rain mix a particular locations sees. Islands and peninsulas will likely see the most mix due to more of an ocean influence on temperatures with the ocean surface temperature still hovering in the upper 40s. Further away from the coast, less mixing will be more likely and therefore on the higher end of projected totals. Either way, most spots will see similar impacts with a plow-able snow that will make for hazardous driving for both the morning and evening commutes.

You may want to keep the snow shovels handy after Friday. There are signs that we could two more chances for snow over the next week. In the meantime, deck the halls, thaw the Turkey, and make the most of this start of winter.