CARIBOU, Maine — Officials at the National Weather Service in Caribou indicate that Mainers saw a dry summer in which temperatures rarely hit 90 degrees, but meteorologists are forecasting an “increased likelihood” of above average temperatures for the fall.
Francis Kredensor, meteorologist at the NWS in Caribou, said that this summer consisted of near-average temperatures but below-average precipitation in northern and eastern Maine. Some parts of Aroostook County saw the driest summers they had seen in years, mainly because patterns of rain were “stuck in a rut” and did not bring precipitation to the region.
The average temperature in northern Maine this summer was 63.9 degrees, which was 6/10’s of a degree above the normal average of 63.3 degrees. In eastern Maine, the average temperature was 66.2 degrees, 1/2 of a degree below the normal average of 66.7 degrees.
According to the weather service, Houlton saw only 7.59 inches of rain during the three month recording period of June, July and August, making it the driest summer since 1999. It was the tenth driest summer since 1948.
In Caribou, Kredensor said, only 9.29 inches of rain was recorded, which was 2.63 inches below the normal three month average of 11.32 inches. That made it the thirteenth driest summer on record. Bangor picked up only 7.87 inches of rain, which was 2.33 inches below average. This was the city’s 22nd driest summer on record.
Kredensor said that all of the rain patterns that moved into Maine this summer “kept going north and west.”
“That meant parts of northern Somerset and western Piscataquis counties and the western mountains received average or above average amounts of precipitation,” he said. “But not the northern parts.”
By the end of August, the downeast region north into parts of southern Aroostook County were in moderate drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
June had mostly cool temperatures, but meteorologists said that a high of 91 degrees was recorded in Caribou and Bangor on June 11, which was the only 90 degree day recorded in each area during the three month period. Houlton saw a temperature of 90 degrees on June 11, and the temperature in Millinocket was 93 degrees. That day was followed by cooler temperatures that even dipped to below freezing on June 27 at Estcourt Station, which saw a low of 31 degrees. Estcourt Station dropped below freezing to register 31 degrees again on July 23.
In southern Maine, summer also began with a period of cool, wet weather, with rain falling on six of the first seven days of June, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. Humid air moved in during the middle of June, bringing three straight days of 90 degree temperatures in the Gray area. It was the only time in the summer that the thermometer hit 90 degrees in southern Maine.
In Portland, a total of 6.66 inches of rain fell during the three-month period, according to the National Weather Service in Gray, which was 3.88 inches below normal. That made it the driest summer since 2003. The most rain fell on Aug. 18, when 1.91 inches was recorded. In Gray, 7.39 inches of rain fell during the same period, which was 4.8 inches below normal.
By the end of August, the weather pattern began to shift, bringing fall like weather to the region.
The outlook for northern and eastern Maine from the Climate Prediction Center calls for a greater chance of above average temperatures than normally seen through November. Forecasters said this week temperatures could be two or three degrees above average. The average temperature in northern Maine from September through November is 51 degrees, while in eastern Maine, it is 57.