It appeared Friday as if Maine will end 2000 on a snowy, blustery note, with a storm that’s expected to leave a half foot or more on much of the state due this weekend.
While holiday travelers may face delays, organizers of Maine’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration said the event, featuring 60 shows in 15 locations, is on, snow or no.
“There’s nothing we’re going to cancel at this point,” Nick Bloom, executive director of Maine Arts Inc., said Friday. Besides, Bloom joked, “this is just a dusting for Mainers.”
The National Weather Service predicted something more than what even Mainers would consider a dusting. Snow will likely enter southwestern Maine on Saturday afternoon, pick up in intensity at night and continue Sunday.
The weather service predicted at least 6 inches in many areas, along with a gusty north wind. But how much actually accumulates will be decided by the track and speed of the storm as it approaches the Gulf of Maine.
Heavy snow and strong winds could move into Down East locations Saturday night and then possibly spread into northern Maine by Sunday morning, the weather service said.
High winds could kick up the surf, and some beach erosion is possible along coastal sections Sunday.
The weather service advised travelers returning home after the Christmas-New Year’s holiday to expect delays due to the snow.
Central Maine Power Co. said its repair crews are ready to be called into service in case the storm causes power outages. Considerable blowing and drifting is expected.
“Our trucks are fueled and equipped and power-restoration personnel are ready to roll in the event snow, ice or high winds damage the power-delivery system,” said CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice.
Customers were urged to keep battery-powered flashlights and radios on hand, along with drinking water and nonperishable food.
The serious warnings were not worrying organizers of New Year’s Portland, which is scheduled to start as the storm begins to wind down in southern Maine.
Bloom, whose agency produces the annual event, said Portland snow-removal crews plan to work throughout Saturday night to make sure the streets and sidewalks are safe for revelers who will flock to the city.
The shows will run from noon until 5:30 p.m. Sunday, and then a parade is planned before the evening’s events to bring in the new year.