CARIBOU, Maine — Even by Maine’s standards, January was cold and snowy.
Snowfall totals were well above average in Portland and Bangor. At the same time, temperatures were far below normal and could be in record territory when the final numbers are tallied.
For the month, Bangor’s average temperature was 10.1 degrees, or 7.9 degrees below normal. Portland averaged 17.5 degrees, or 4.2 degrees below normal. And in northern Maine, Caribou’s temperature averaged just 2.5 degrees, which was 7 degrees below normal.
The National Weather Service this week will compare those numbers with previous years to determine where they stand historically.
“We’re pretty sure Bangor and Caribou were in the Top 10 among the coldest Januarys ever,” said Ken Wallingford, a meteorologist in the weather service’s office in Caribou.
For the month, record lows were set in Caribou on seven separate days, thanks to two prolonged cold snaps that gripped Maine during the month. Only once did the thermometer reach 30 degrees.
Bangor had below-normal temperatures on 27 of the month’s 31 days, with the mercury hitting zero or lower on 18 of those days.
As for snow, Bangor had 27.7 inches for the month; the normal is 18.7 inches. For the season as a whole, Bangor has gotten 51.5 inches of snow, while the normal amount is 36.2 inches.
Portland got 28 inches in January; the normal is 20.5 inches. For the entire season, 55.2 inches have fallen, which is 17.8 inches above normal.
During a mid-January cold spell, an unofficial record state low of minus 50 was recorded at Big Black River, an uninhabited spot in northwest Maine, but the reading won’t become official until the equipment is double-checked to make sure the measurement was accurate.