PORTLAND, Maine — The Southeast has been suffering under brutal heat, but the Northeast also is on pace for a record-setting summer as a hot and muggy weather pattern persists.
Anthony Alfreds likes to cool down by leaping off a pier into the cold harbor waters here in Portland, which has had nine straight months of above-normal temperatures.
“It sure does beat the heat,” the 13-year-old shouted this week while giving two thumbs-up after cannonballing into Portland Harbor on a steamy, 91-degree day.
This summer is going down in the record books in Maine and across the Northeast.
It isn’t the one-day highs that are catching the attention of meteorologists; it’s the prolonged heat, with day after day of high temperatures and humidity.
July also was the ninth straight month of above-normal temperatures in Caribou. In Bangor, a string of seven straight months of above-normal temperatures was broken in June, but July again was above normal, according to the National Weather Service office in Caribou. It was the sixth-warmest July on record in Bangor, with an average temperature of 72.6 degrees.
The normal average temperature for July in the Queen City is 69.2 degrees. The warmest July on record in Bangor was in 1935 with an average of 74.1 degrees.
Boston’s temperatures have been above normal every month since January, and Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York have been warmer than usual since March.
The streak is likely to continue through the summer and into early fall, said Mark Wysocki, a meteorologist and professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. The weather pattern — with the jet stream farther north than usual — isn’t showing signs of breaking up any time soon, he said.
Many locations in the Northeast had the warmest meteorological spring on record for March, April and May. It wouldn’t surprise Wysocki if those same places set records for the summer, as well.
“Not only the summer, but also for the year, 2010,” he said.
In Portland, the string of monthly above-normal temperatures goes back to November and includes the warmest March and April on record and the second-warmest May and July.
This summer, John Chadbourne, 35, of South Portland has been seeking relief by going to a water park, cranking the air conditioner up in his home and car, or coming to the Maine State Pier.
“And we’ve spent about $700 on the ice cream truck,” he said, smiling at his 7-year-old son fishing nearby.
In its three-month outlook, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for above-normal temperatures to continue across the Northeast.
A weather pattern is forming in the Pacific Ocean that suggests the weather could return to normal during the fall and into the winter, he said.
In the meantime, people shouldn’t expect the warm-weather streak to continue forever, said George Jacobson, Maine’s state climatologist and a professor at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Center. Weather is variable, and the near-record rainfall and cool temperatures much of last summer are still fresh in Mainers’ minds.
“About a year and a half ago we had the coldest day ever in Maine,” Jacobson said. “On January 16, 2009, it was minus 50 in Aroostook County.”
BDN staff writers contributed to this report.