‘Fed up’ with rain in Maine

Posted June 29, 2009, at 9:18 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Sick of the rain yet?

Better get used to it — the end is not in sight.

As a record-setting month of precipitation comes to a close, it will be a while before we see any sunny summer days, the National Weather Service in Caribou said Monday afternoon.

Bangor has had a total of 7.62 inches of precipitation in the first 28½ days of June, besting the previous record of 7.46 set in 2006. Records have been kept since 1925.

So far this month, NWS observers have recorded 21 days with at least a trace of precipitation. Of the eight dry days, six have actually been sunny.

Today’s Poll

Is the rainy weather making you depressed?

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Enough is enough, most people said Monday afternoon.

“I think I’m going to start building an ark,” said Fredericton, New Brunswick, resident Bob Jones, who stopped at Borders bookstore while visiting Bangor with his wife, Alvina. “We’re fed up. The weather’s as bad [in Fredericton] and it’s been discouraging.”

Hot, sunny, summer weather must be coming our way any minute, right? And surely, the weather will be perfect for Fourth of July celebrations on Saturday.

Wrong, said Lee Foster of the Caribou weather station. The sun may peek through later in the week, he said, but things aren’t expected to change much until next week at the earliest.

Foster said another upper-level low, the same kind of system that has brought our current weather pattern, is now over the Great Lakes and is expected to arrive Sunday or Monday.

Portland hasn’t hit its record of 10.86 inches of rain set in 1917, but Maine’s largest city has had 8.17 inches so far this month, said Butch Roberts of the NWS station in Gray.

Millinocket, another town for which the NWS has up-to-date information, has had 6.01 inches so far. The record there is 10.64 inches, set in 1992. Caribou has had a little more than 2 inches of rain, but the same cloudiness as in other areas of the state, Foster added.

Average temperatures in Bangor have been about 3½ degrees cooler than normal, Foster said. The normal high for late June is 77 degrees with an average low of 57. The lows this month have been higher, he said because of cloud cover at night.

The NWS likely won’t receive precipitation data for most of its smaller stations until the end of the month or early in July. It’s likely other towns could be near records, too, as places such as Lisbon Falls, Old Town, Orono and Harrington got more than 5 inches of rain during the weekend of June 19-21 alone.

Roberts said the NWS Gray office had a report of 3.18 inches on Monday alone from an observer in West Rockport.

Some areas also have seen minor flooding and some road closures. The town of Sherman called an emergency meeting of its selectmen and road commissioners for noon Tuesday to deal with road repairs due to a thunderstorm that moved through the southern Aroostook County area Friday.

Foster said there were reports Friday of golf ball-size hail and a funnel cloud that did limited damage in Stockholm.

Although rainfall totals can be documented, the level of grumpiness found in people who have been rained on for weeks at a time can’t be quantified.

“Everyone wants to know if the sun is still a yellow ball,” Foster said with a laugh.

A lack of sun is no small matter, however, to people who are predisposed to depression or suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Clinical psychologist and University of Maine professor Sandra Sigmon said she’s already had some calls from people in the community with questions about SAD.

“Research shows people are very much affected by long periods of gray, cloudy days,” she said. “It tends to bring people down. Individuals who have a history of depression or [SAD] tend to get more depressed during long periods of gray, cloudy days, especially in spring or summer.”

As soon as the sun returns, Sigmon said, it’s important for people to be outside for around 15 minutes a day, which is the amount of time needed to stimulate vitamin D production. Low levels of the vitamin have been linked to depression and osteoporosis, Sigmon added.

To counteract depression brought on by cloudy, gray weather, Sigmon suggests keeping busy indoors.

“People have to do other things to keep active, whether it’s the movies, library, museums, a hobby, some kind of fix-it project,” she said. “We know people who cut back on activity levels also get depressed.”

For the Joneses, this time of year would mean keeping busy in their garden, but slugs and moisture have ravaged their plants and flowers. The couple usually enjoy barbecues, family get-togethers and other outdoor activities that have been moved inside or canceled.

“[Alvina] had a vacation Bible school last week and there were a lot of regular activities where they had to use Plan B, because Plan A just didn’t work,” Bob Jones said.

Hermon resident Pat Long has enjoyed the recent stretch.

“I love this. I don’t like hot weather,” Long said as she headed into Borders. “I’m from [cooler] northern Maine, and I don’t like it hot, so this to me is heaven. And I’ve been rehabbing from knee replacement surgery so I’ve been inside the whole time.”

Bob Jones looked on the bright side as only a Mainer or Canadian could.

“At least we don’t have to shovel this,” he said.

jbloch@bangordailynews.net

990-8287

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