Winter an Early but Infrequent Visitor this Year

By Lura Jackson

While the partial government shutdown has necessitated the temporary closure of the non-emergency services of the NOAA, we can still take a moment to explore the data the local office in Caribou provided us with to get a broader perspective on the winter season thus far.

November revealed itself to be uncommonly wet and cold in an early start to winter that thankfully didn’t hold fast. From the Caribou station, the lowest temperature came in at a brisk 5 degrees on November 22nd, remarkedly down from a low point of 12 degrees during last November. The average low temperature for the month was a bit healthier at 25.2, 3.3 degrees lower than the historical average. The coldest temperature ever recorded for the month was -3 degrees on November 29th, 1940. Around the state, Bangor had its second-chilliest November ever, behind 1939.

Not only was November chilly, it was also uncommonly wet. November saw a total of 7 inches in rain, with a daily average of 0.23 inches - a full 0.9 inches more than the normal average. The driest month historically, meanwhile, saw 0.50 inches for the whole month in 1939. The wettest comes in at a whopping 11.61 inches in 1983.

Aside from the cold temperatures and the steady rains, November also saw an unusual amount of snow. While the average for the month is a mere 2.3 inches, this year came in at 15.9. It wasn’t enough to topple 2014’s record of 25.9 inches, however.

By the time December rolled around, many were preparing for a long winter – but the temperatures warmed up and residents looked skyward to find rain as often as snow. NOAA data for December had not been compiled as of this writing, but reports from Robbinston up to December 27th reveal a snowfall amount of 17.2 inches, a rain total of 8.65 inches, a minimum temperature of 5 degrees on December 13th, and a maximum temperature of 56 on the 22nd.

 

From the historic record, -29 degrees was the bone-shaking coldest temperature recorded in December in 1989, while 2001 claimed the highest at 63 degrees. Rainfall continues to be higher than normal with the historic average being 4.22 inches.