PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A major snowstorm is brewing in New England just in time for April Fools' Day. And it's no laughing matter for the region's winter-weary residents.
The Atlantic coastal storm is going to bring heavy, wet snow to Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire starting Friday and continuing through Saturday afternoon, raising the prospect of widespread power outages.
It's a bitter pill for folks who are tired of shoveling snow — and pining for the arrival of songbirds, crocuses and warmth.
"You can go outside and hear the birds chirping. It's hard to imagine that 24 hours from now we'll have snow," Matthew Gaynor, head golf pro at the Nonesuch Golf Club, said Thursday. With the forecast, the club canceled its weekend opening.
Many sports teams already had cleared their fields. Now they'll have to do it again after the storm dumps a foot or more of snow in some places.
"It's tough to get people thinking about baseball when it's snowing out," said Chris Cameron of the Portland Sea Dogs. The team will have to scramble to have the field ready for opening day on April 6, he said.
Hilly terrain in southwestern New Hampshire could see up to 18 inches of snow; parts of southern and western Maine could see a foot, said meteorologist Tom Hawley from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
Parts of Massachusetts and Vermont also could see heavy snow, while the coastline is expected to be spared from big accumulations.
Across the country, there have been wide variations in snowfall this winter. Lake Tahoe received more than 66 feet (20 meters) of snow. Chicago saw no snow in January and February for the first time in 146 years, said Dave Byrd from the National Ski Areas Association in Colorado.
It was a lighter-than-normal winter in the Middle Atlantic, as well, but it'll be snowier than usual in Maine.
April snow is not unusual in these parts. The record for Maine was 15 inches on April 10, 1906, and 14 inches fell on April 6, 1982.
While golfers may be grumpy, skiers are ready to extend the season, said Brendan Drew from the Golf and Ski Warehouse store outside Portland.
"Let's just really enjoy the fantastic spring skiing," he said. "We know that summer is going to come — at some point."