Mainers get summery treat as temps hit 70s, 80s in spots

Posted April 26, 2009, at 8:10 p.m.

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

A mass of cooler air and clouds that pushed through the state Sunday are expected to cool things down into today, but not for long. Another warm spell arrives Tuesday, bringing a return to 70- or even 80-degree weather for some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature in Caribou hit 77 degrees Saturday afternoon, breaking the previous record of 76 degrees set in 1942, said meteorologist Victor Nouhan with National Weather Service in Caribou. Areas of western Maine climbed into the upper 80s, and Concord, N.H., 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 office in Gray.

A cool breeze coming off the Atlantic on Saturday, however, created 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 on Saturday, 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 in the 40s, so a southern wind has a significant chilling effect on coastal areas.

By Sunday, however, the conditions were reversed.

Residents of Rockland and the midcoast region were enjoying temperatures in the mid-70s while Caribou was stuck in the mid-50s, according to the weather service.

On Saturday, the cool ocean 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,” Files said as the boys ran barefoot across the sand.

At Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect, 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 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.”

The weather service was forecasting temperatures in the 50s and 60s today throughout much of the state, with some areas seeing scattered showers and thunderstorms. By Tuesday, however, the mercury is expected to climb back into the 70s, with areas of interior Maine getting into the lower 80s, meteorologist Tim Duda said Sunday.

kmiller@bangordailynews.net

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