One more storm adds to February's lackluster snow totals

Feb. 28—Snowfall on Tuesday closed state offices early and made roads slippery — but wasn't expected to bring February's snow totals to usual levels.

The National Weather Service in Gray forecast 5 to 8 inches of snow in southern Maine by the time the storm ends in the early hours of Wednesday. Most areas had received 1 to 3 inches by noon on Tuesday.

"It's been pretty light so far, but as we go into the afternoon and evening, we're expecting to see the snowfall rates pick up at times," said Jerry Combs, a meteorologist at the NWS office in Gray. "It'll definitely make for some slick roadways for people heading home from work."

At 1:30 p.m., Gov. Janet Mills directed state offices to close at 3 p.m. The forecast called for 1.5 to 3 inches in southern Maine in the three-hour period between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The weather service advised on Twitter: "Take it slow!"

The storm caused school cancellations and office closures in the region. But it did not seem to be knocking out power for many residents — Central Maine Power reported only one outage out of more than 600,000 customers just before noon. And only a small number of flights to and from the Portland International Jetport were canceled or delayed.

The fresh powder should boost the area's snow totals after a lackluster winter.

Combs said Portland usually gets about 16.6 inches in February, while the weather service office in Gray usually records 20.4 in that location. Before Tuesday, Portland had only recorded 7.6 inches of snowfall, while Gray had seen 8.5 inches of the white stuff.

The NWS office is monitoring two additional systems for the first days of March — a weaker one that will bring light rain and snow late Wednesday and Thursday, and a stronger one likely to bring snow Friday night and Saturday. But Combs said it is too soon to predict totals for those events.

"We are certainly behind normal for what we see," said Combs. "Today will get us a little closer. We'll see where we end up at the end of the day."