December 15, 2018
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Arctic front brings record cold to parts of Maine on Thanksgiving

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Bangor residents awoke to a record cold Thanksgiving at 5 degrees above zero. Here, Caribou's iconic statue can be seen enduring snow and icicles on Jan. 2, 2018.

Three Maine cities awoke to record cold temperatures today as an Arctic front from Canada pushed frigid air across the state, lowering temperatures 30 degrees below normal for Nov. 22.

The air temperature in Bangor Thursday morning was 5 degrees above zero, breaking the previous record in the Queen City on this date of 11 degrees above zero in 1978, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou. With wind chill, the temperature was minus 10 degrees.

At 6 degrees this morning, Portland more than halved the previous record low of 13 degrees in 1972, while Augusta was 4 degrees, breaking the 1978 record of 9 degrees on Nov. 22, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. The weather service’s Gray office did not have wind chill estimates.

Bangor was the only city in the weather service’s Caribou coverage area to break a record for Nov. 22.

“An Arctic air mass is driving the frigid air down from Canada,” said Tim Duda, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Caribou, which covers the weather from Bangor north in Maine. “The temperature is 25 to 30 degrees below what we would normally expect on this day.”

Chris Kimble, a meteorologist at the Gray station, said the coldest temperatures in his area were 2 degrees below zero in Greenville and minus 1 in Fryeburg.

“This is the coldest Thanksgiving on record across our area and also the coldest Nov. 22,” Kimble said.

Thanksgiving Day falls on a different date each year. While Portland and Augusta also will experience the coldest ever Thanksgiving Day temperatures, Bangor’s coldest Thanksgiving Day was in 1974, when the temperature reached 7 degrees above zero.

Duda said the normal high temperature for Bangor on Nov. 22 is 43 degrees, but it will be 14 degrees.

Kimble said Portland’s normal high temperature for Nov. 22 is 46 degrees, but it will reach 16 degrees. And Augusta, with a normal high of 43 degrees, will be 13 degrees.

Winds throughout the weather service’s Caribou area are west at 10 to 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 35 mph in far northern Maine for most of the afternoon. The wind chill in far northern Maine could reach as low as 42 degrees below zero.

Northwest winds throughout the weather service’s Gray area will be 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 35 mph.

“The good news is that as we look toward the remainder of the weekend and into next week is that this intense cold will be short-lived. Temperatures moderate into the 30s and 40s Down East,” Duda said. “We could see some rain Sunday in Down East Maine.”

Friday still will be a cold one for Bangor, with temperatures reaching the low 20s, and for northern Maine, where the temperatures will hover in the teens.

Kimble expects a little warming in southern Maine, where temperatures will rise into the mid-20s on Friday. Portland should warm to 27 degrees, and August to 22 degrees.

He also expects a Sunday warmup to 40 degrees with some rain.

“That should help wash away some of the snow,” he said.

Although weather service’s Gray office had not yet measured the snow depth in Portland today, Kimble said if the 8 inches on the ground Wednesday lasts on Thanksgiving, the snow depth could break the Thanksgiving 2014 record of 7 inches.


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