CARIBOU, Maine — For the past two weeks, there is one word that Karen McCarthy of Houlton swears she has heard more out of her three children’s mouths than any other word: rain.
“That is all they have been complaining about, each day, day after day,” she said. “We can’t go out and play because it is raining, or it never stops raining here. I have been telling them that they are just exaggerating, but now I realize I was wrong.’”
That is because statistics from the National Weather Service in Caribou show that precipitation was above average in the state last month except across portions of Down East Maine, where it was slightly below average. Tony Mignone, meteorologist at the NWS, said Friday this was because of a very active jet stream in the eastern part of the nation.
“We had several days of very wet weather in April,” he noted.
Snowfall was above average across far northern Maine, near average Down East, and below normal for the month in the Bangor area, according to statistics provided by the weather service. The total monthly snowfall of 9.8 inches at Caribou was 2.4 inches above normal, marking the snowiest April since 2011. At Bangor, a total of 2.3 inches of snow was observed, which was 1.4 inches below normal. There were 4 consecutive days with an inch or more of snow at Caribou beginning on April 19, which was the most consecutive days with an inch or more of snow during the month of April since records have been kept.
In spite of that snowfall, Mignone said the month finished with temperatures ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 degrees above average. Caribou saw a high temperature of 67 degrees on April 27 and Bangor saw a high temperature of 77 degrees on April 11. This year tied with 1979 as the eighth warmest April at Caribou, and it was also the eighth warmest April on record at Bangor. April 2017 ended as the seventh warmest on record at Houlton.
The snow depth at the start of the month ranged from 25 to 35 inches across northern areas, but was 6 inches or less in most areas Down East. By the end of the month, the only snow that remained was generally in the more protected locations in the higher elevations of far northern Maine, where there were localized areas with several inches of snow on the ground.
At the National Weather Service in Gray, April dawned cool, but the temperature warmed up to 85 degrees on Sunday, April 16, the earliest 85 degree reading since March 21, 2012. A total of 5 inches of precipitation fell, which was 0.62 inches above normal and the wettest April since 2012. The heaviest precipitation fell on April 25 and 26, when nearly 1.5 inches was recorded.