...NORTHERN AND EASTERN MAINE MONTHLY CLIMATE NARRATIVE...
January 2014 finished with slightly above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall. Unusual for January, the month ended with above normal liquid precipitation (but below normal snowfall) as much of the significant precipitation fell in the form of rain.
Temperatures averaged from 1 to 3 degrees above normal across most of northern and eastern Maine, but were close to normal across western Maine. The average temperature at Caribou of 12.2 degrees was 2 degrees above the 1981-2010 average temperature. At Bangor, the average temperature of 18.6 degrees was 1.6 degrees above normal. The month began with a significant cold snap. The high temperature of 15 Below on the 2nd at Caribou was an astonishing 11 degrees below the old record low high temperature of 4 below in 1968. The low temperature of 28 below also broke the record of 20 below set in 1968. The average temperature of 22 below on the 2nd tied for the 2nd lowest daily average temperature ever observed. The high temperature on the 3rd of 8 below broke the previous record low high temperature of 7 below set in 1996. The back to back high temperatures of 8 below or lower have only occurred 4 times since weather records began, most recently a decade ago in 2004.
At Bangor, the high temperature of 5 below on the 2nd smashed the previous record low high of 6 above in 1957. The high of 5 below tied with January 4, 1981 for the 3rd lowest high temperature ever observed at Bangor. It was also the first time that the temperature remained below zero all day at Bangor since 2004. Temperatures moderated significantly on the 5th, and were above and at times well above normal much of the time through the 19th. Temperatures were below normal much of the time late in the month, although the cold was not nearly as significant as the cold snap at the start of the month.
Snowfall was well below normal during the first three weeks of the month, and it was the slowest start since the early 1990s at both Bangor and Caribou through the 19th. Much of the precipitation that fell at Caribou and Bangor toward the middle of the month was in the form of rain and freezing rain.
There were a couple of freezing rain events that impacted mainly northern Maine on the morning of the 6th and again on the 11th. The event on the 11th produced the worst icing on many roads in recent memory across parts of the region.
A couple of storms during the last week of the month produced 13 inches of snow at Caribou and brought the monthly total up to 17.2 inches, which was 8 inches below normal. At Bangor, a total of 8.7 inches of snow was observed during the entire month of January, which was 10.5 inches below normal.
Liquid precipitation (rain and melted snow) was above normal. There was a total of 3.99 inches at Caribou, which was 1.28 inches above normal and the most since 1999. At Bangor, a total of 3.18 inches was observed, which was 29 hundredths of an inch above normal and the most since 2010.
The month began with a snow pack of 1 1/2 to 2 feet across northern and eastern Maine with less than 1 foot along the coast. The snow pack melted away completely across Downeast Maine by the middle of the month, with only a couple of inches at the end of the month. Across northern Maine, about half of the snow pack melted during the stretch of above normal temperatures toward the middle of the Month. By the end of the month, the snow pack across far northern Maine was mostly in the 12 to 18 inch range.
The combination of rainfall and snow melt caused significant rises on area rivers, especially across central and Downeast areas toward the middle of the month. An ice jam on the Mattawamkeag caused flooding on river road in Mattawamkeag on the 14th. Other ice jams were noted on the Piscataquis and Penobscot rivers on the 16th through the 18th. A Coast Guard cutter on the Penobscot helped to break up the ice and lessen the flows around Bangor. No significant flooding was noted.
The average wind speed at caribou was 8 mph and at Bangor was 8.7 Mph. The peak wind speed for the month at caribou was 47 mph on the 6th. The peak wind speed at Bangor this past January was 48 mph on The 7th.
The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates that there are no strong climate signals that would tilt the odds towards an unusually cold or mild February, nor an unusually snowy or dry month. Daylight increases steadily with over an hour gain in daylight during the month of February.
Image courtesy of the Northeast Regional Climate Center