FORT KENT, Maine — Break out the hot cocoa and confetti, Caribou officially broke the record for its coldest average temperature for the month of March, according to information released Tuesday morning by the National Weather Service.
Bangor also has reason to celebrate — or not — after tying the all-time cold record for the month set in 1939.
The average March temperature in Caribou was 15.1 degrees, 9.5 degrees below normal and just two-tenths of a degree lower than the previous record set in 1939.
Caribou had 14 nights when the low temperatures fell below zero, tying with 1939 for the most nights.
So far this winter, there have been 55 nights with a low below zero, the most since the 2002-2003 season.
All Bangor had to do to tie the record set in 1939 was stay below 37 degrees on Monday, which it did, ending the month with an average of 22.7 degrees, or 7.5 degrees below normal.
Bangor had six nights in March where the temperatures fell below zero, the most since 1948, and the low temperature of zero on March 25 was the latest it has dropped that low, breaking that record set on March 20, 1993.
Farther to the south, Portland did not break any records, but according to officials at the National Weather Service office in Gray, it was the fourth coldest March on record with an average temperature of 27 degrees, 6.5 degrees below normal.
“It is also the latest in the year we have gone without hitting 55 degrees,” Mike Kistner, meteorologist in Gray, said Tuesday morning. “And we may not even hit 50 until next week.”
The coldest March in Portland was back in 1956 when the city averaged 25.6 degrees that month.
This past March came in fifth behind 1956 with an average of 25.6 degrees, 1950 with an average of 26.4 degrees; and 1967 and 26.5 degrees.
A recent warming trend pushing temperatures up to the 40s took the month out of record-setting contention, Kistner said.
“We were just 1.4 degrees off to get the coldest [March] ever, he said. “We suffered that whole month and then the last four days took it away.”
Northern Maine ended March with 42.1 inches of snow at Caribou, 23.8 inches above normal, ranking it the third-snowiest on record behind 2008 and 1955.
So far this season 141.5 inches of snow has fallen, which is 41 inches above normal and marks the eighth snowiest season on record.
Bangor ended March with 15.7 inches of snowfall, or four inches above normal. There was a sustained snowpack on the ground all month in Bangor and that has not happened since 1994.
So far, Bangor has gotten 78.9 inches of snow for the season.
There are no major storms in the immediate forecast, but meteorologists are also saying the first half of April will contain below-normal temperatures.