Sunny skies bring Mainers out; Caribou sets record at 77 degrees

Posted April 25, 2009, at 5:20 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Many Mainers were out enjoying a taste of summer in April on Saturday as temperatures climbed into the 70s and 80s, setting records in some parts of the state.

The hot spell will be short lived, however, due to a mass of cooler air and clouds expected to push through Maine Saturday night into Sunday, according to weather forecasters.

The temperature in Caribou hit 77 degrees Saturday afternoon, breaking the previous record set in 1942, said meteorologist Victor Nouhan with National Weather Service in Caribou. Areas of western Maine climbed into the upper 80s, and Concord, NH, reported a high of 90 degrees.

“Considering that highs are supposed to be in the 60s in Concord on a day like today, that’s a big difference,” said James Brown, a meteorologist with the weather service’s office in Gray.

While skies were clear over much of the state, not everyone was basking in warmer temperatures, however.

A breeze coming off of the Atlantic kept coastal areas on the cooler side, creating a situation where far northern Maine was more than 20 degrees warmer than areas a few hundred miles to the south.

Bangor got up to around 70, but Portland stayed in the 60s all day. Rockland, meanwhile, never made it out of the 50s thanks to that steady ocean breeze. Nouhan said water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine are currently in the 40s, so a southern wind has a significant chilling effect on coastal areas.

The cool breeze didn’t seem to faze Kaleb Brown, age 3, and his 4-year-old cousin, Roger Files.

The cousins were busy digging and flinging sand on the beach in Lincolnville on Saturday afternoon. Rachel Files, Roger’s mother, said the weather was so nice that she, the two boys and Kaleb’s mom decided to spend the day on the coast.

The group ate ice cream, looked at boats, fed the birds and even waded into the chilly water — until the boys realized it wasn’t as inviting as it appeared.

“They’re having a great day,” she said as the boys ran barefoot across the sand.

Up at Fort Knox State Historic Site, manager Mike Wilusz said he was busy making final preparations for the May 1 opening of the fort and observatory on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.

Wilusz said there was a steady but relatively light flow of visitors on Saturday to the fort, most of which is accessible to the public in the off season. But Wilusz could tell people were enjoying the weather without having to see them.

“There’s the smell of barbecue in the air,” he said. “You can smell the aroma from people having picnics.”

Sunday’s weather will likely a bit cooler, although still potentially picnic friendly in much of the state. Central and southern Maine are expected to see partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 60s or low 70s, according to the weather service. Northern Maine will be mostly sunny with highs in the upper 50s or lower 60s.

Looking ahead, temperatures will likely be in the 50s and 60s for much of the state on Monday before potentially climbing back into the 70s on Tuesday.

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