National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

                                                                              ...2017 Year in Review...

January 2017 will be remembered for unseasonably mild temperatures that averaged from 6.5 to 8 degrees above average. Bangor, Caribou, and Houlton had their 4th, 5th, and 8th warmest January on record.  A storm on the 24th into the 25th produced 4.2 inches of sleet at Presque Isle, and was likely one of the all-time biggest sleet storms on record across northern Maine.   The snow depth varied greatly from little or none along the Downeast Coast to as much as 30 inches across the far north. 

February was another month with above average temperatures, but not as warm compared to average as January with average monthly temperatures of 1.5 to 3 degrees above average.   The first half of the month was cold and snowy, and the second half of the month was much milder and rainy.  A total of 37.4 inches of snow was observed at Bangor, which made it the 5th snowiest February on record.   Snow depth peaked at 31 inches at both Caribou and Bangor mid-month, but due to the warmer weather and rain there was only an inch of snow on the ground at Bangor, while Caribou still had 23 inches on the ground at months end. 

Temperatures in March ranged from 4 to 6 degrees below average, and snowfall was above average at both Caribou and Bangor by 5.3 inches and 6 inches respectively.   March 11th was an unusually cold day with a high of 1 below at Caribou, which marked the latest sub-zero high on record.  The high of 2 degrees at Houlton was the lowest high temperature ever observed during the month of March.   The snow depth ranged from 25 to 35 inches across northern areas, but by the end of the month the snow depth dropped to 3 inches at Bangor after peaking at 14 inches mid-month. 

April finished with temperatures that averaged from 1.5 to 3.5 degrees above average and was the 8th warmest April on record at Bangor and Caribou.   Liquid precipitation (rain and melted snow) ranged from 100 to 150 percent of normal across the region, with only some spots in eastern Hancock and Washington County observing slightly below average precipitation.   By the end of the month, the only snow that remained was generally across the higher elevations of far northern Maine where there were localized areas with several inches of snow on the ground.

May featured temperatures that were within a degree of the 30-year average across northern and eastern Maine.  Precipitation was above average and ranged from 130 to 200 percent of normal.  At Bangor, a total of 6.36 inches of rain was observed making it the wettest May since 1989 and the 5th all-time wettest May on record.   There was one unusually hot day on the 18th when highs reached into the 90s at many locations, and numerous daily records were established. 

Temperatures in June averaged from 0.5 degree below average to 1.5 degrees above average across the region.   Hot weather was observed on the 11th with record highs of 90 or above at Caribou, Houlton, Millinocket, and Bangor.  Late in the month there was a freeze at Estcourt Station with a low of 31 degrees on the 27th.  Precipitation was quite variable across the region ranging from 80 to 150 percent of normal.  The first 2 weeks were quite dry, and it became much wetter during the 2nd half of the month. 

In July temperatures were very close to average and ranged from near normal to just 1 degree below average.  There were no 90 degree days at any of the major climate stations.   There were some cool mornings late in the month with a low of 31 degrees at Estcourt Station on the 23rd.   The month was unusually dry with only 40 to 70 percent of average across the region. 

August was another very dry month with only 25 to 70 percent of the normal rainfall.  Only 1.14” of rain was observed at Millinocket, which was the 7th driest on record.  By the end of the month, the Downeast Region into parts of southern Aroostook County were in moderate drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.   Temperatures were very close to average and ranged from 3 tenths of a degree above average at Caribou to 1.2 degrees below average at Millinocket.   There were no 90 degree days at any of the long term climate sites.  The northwest valleys observed a couple of nights with lows around freezing late in the month.   Some longtime residents in Aroostook County reported that the river levels were the lowest that they could recall in decades.   It was a quiet severe weather season across northern and eastern Maine.

September was a very warm month with temperatures that averaged from 5 to 6 degrees above average.  It ranked as the 3rd warmest September on record at Caribou, Houlton, Millinocket, and Bangor.   The 23rd through the 26th was unusually hot with highs well into the 80s and even low 90s on the 26th at Millinocket and as far north as Houlton.  Many climate sites observed their warmest high temperatures ever so late in the season on the 25th and 26th.  Monthly maximum temperatures were higher in September than in August which was highly unusual for September.   Rainfall ranged from 65 to 100 percent of normal, but most of the month was very dry with no measurable rain observed at Caribou from the 10th through the 26th

October was the warmest on record across northern and eastern Maine with temperatures which averaged from 7 to 8.5 degrees above average.   For the 2 month period of September through October it was the warmest on record at Caribou, Houlton, Millinocket, and Bangor.   Rainfall was much above average and ranged from 130 to 175 percent of normal.  Prior to the 25th, the month was very dry with many sunny days.  The big break in the dry regime came on the 25th into the 26th when 3.5 to 7 inches of rain fell across the region.  Additional moderate to heavy rainfall occurred late on the 29th through the 30th.   The storm at the end of the month produced high wind and widespread power outages across the Downeast Region and higher terrain, with the most widespread power outages since the January 1998 ice storm.  

Temperatures in November averaged from 0.5 to 2 degrees below average across the region.  For the meteorological fall (September through November) it was the warmest on record at Houlton, 2nd warmest at Caribou, 3rd warmest at Millinocket, and the 4th warmest at Bangor.  Precipitation ranged from 50 to 75 percent of normal across most of the region, but from 100 to 130 percent of normal across parts of far northeast Maine.   Only a trace of snow was observed at Bangor and only 3.9 inches of snow was observed at Caribou.  The first measurable snow at Caribou did not occur until the 17th, which was the 4th latest measurable snowfall on record.

December finished with well below average temperatures that ranged from 4 to 7.5 degrees below average.   After a mild start to the month with above average temperatures the first 9 days of the month, the remainder of the month featured below to at times well below average temperatures much of the time.  At Bangor, it was the coldest December since 1989.  The high of -1F at Bangor on the 28th was the first sub-zero high since 2014.  Temperatures in the northwest valleys dropped as low as 33 below on the 29th and 30th.   Snowfall was well above average, and by the end of the month the snow depth ranged from 15 to 20 inches across most of the region, with 20 to 30 inches across the North Woods, with 6 inches or less across coastal Washington County. 

For the year as a whole it ranked as the 10th warmest on record at Caribou and the 11th warmest at Bangor.  A total of 43.01 inches of rain and melted snow was observed at Caribou which was the 14th wettest year on record.  At Bangor, a total of 41.33 inches of rain and melted snow was observed, which was the 29th wettest year on record.  A total of 90.4 inches of snow was observed at Bangor which tied with 1970 as the 12th snowiest calendar year.  At Caribou, a total of 106.3 inches of snow was observed, which made it the 39th snowiest calendar year on record. 

 

 

Daily temperatures at Caribou, Maine in 2017. Image courtesy of xmACIS2.

 

Daily temperatures at Bangor, Maine in 2017. Image courtesy of xmACIS2.

 

Accumulated precipitation (rain and melted snow) at Caribou, Maine in 2017.  Image courtesy of xmACIS2

 

Accumulated snowfall at Caribou, Maine in 2017.  Image courtesy of xmACIS2.