May 27, 2018
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March chill could break records, possible ‘large winter storm’ on way

By Anthony Brino, BDN Staff

A potentially record-breaking March chill is sweeping across Maine this weekend, adding another curveball this winter for outdoor enthusiasts.

Overnight and early Saturday morning the entire state could see wind chill values in the negative double digits, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou.

The NWS issued a wind chill advisory for 1 a.m through 11 a.m. Saturday for portions of Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties. Temperatures with wind chills are expected to range from negative 18 to negative 28 from Bangor to northern Aroostook County.

“It will be an extremely cold and breezy weekend,” the NWS Caribou office said in a Facebook post. The weather service warns that venturing outside without being properly dressed could result in frostbite and hypothermia.

Daytime temperatures on Saturday could “easily set records” in Bangor and Caribou for the coldest high temperatures for a March 11 since records have been kept, the NWS said. Highs are forecast to be 13 degrees in Bangor and 6 degrees in Caribou. The record cold high for that date was 15 degrees in Bangor in 1939 and also 15 degrees in Caribou in 1972, according to the NWS.

As temperatures warm Sunday and Monday, the region could also be in store for a “large winter storm late Tuesday into Wednesday,” the National Weather Service said. No inch count is forecast yet, but the NWS reports, “this system will have the potential to bring significant snow to portions of northern and Down East Maine.”

The cold weekend is good news for some winter recreationists, particularly snowmobilers in portions of northern Maine that lost snowpack in the thaws earlier this month.

The anticipated cold is affecting some skiing events. The annual Henry Anderson Ski Dag cross country ski race in Caribou, scheduled for Saturday as part of the ongoing Aroostook Cup series, has been canceled due to the cold.

Quoggy Jo Ski Center in Presque Isle, a community alpine ski hill popular among youths, also will be closed on Saturday, but is slated to open Sunday, when temperatures are expected to rise to as high as 15 degrees.

Bigrock Mountain in Mars Hill, meanwhile, will be open for regular hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, despite the cold. “We will be open, unless the wind becomes a safety concern with our ski lifts,” manager Travis Kearney said.

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