CARIBOU, Maine — Although it won’t be as warm as the record setting Christmases in 2014 and 2015, Mainers across the state are guaranteed a white holiday this year, according to the National Weather Service.
Weather conditions have varied widely across the state since the NWS began keeping records in 1925. The warmest Christmas on record took place in Bangor in 2014 and 2015, when temperatures hit 54 degrees both years, Meteorologist Tony Mignone of the NWS Caribou office said Thursday.
The lowest temperature ever observed on Dec. 25 in the city was in 1980, when the thermometer read 17 degrees below zero. The normal high and low for the day in the city is 31 degrees.
Weather records have been kept since 1939 in Caribou, where the highest temperature of 48 was registered on Christmas in 1964, 2003 and 2014. The lowest temperature, 26 below zero, was observed in the city in 1975. The only time that the high temperature failed to reach zero degrees in Caribou was in 1983, when the high was only 1 degree below zero. The normal high and low on the holiday is 23 degrees and 6 degrees respectively
In Portland, the normal high is 36 degrees and the low is 6 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.
Meteorologists define a white Christmas as when the state has at least 1 inch of snow on the ground, and that has occurred statewide 75 percent of the time. The average snow depth in Caribou on the holiday is 4 inches, but the most ever recorded was 23 inches in 1970.
The snowiest Christmas in Bangor was in 1938, when 9.2 inches was on the ground.
The snowpack in Portland is currently 3 inches.
There have been only 6 years, 1957, 1973, 1998, 2001, 2006 and 2010 when there was less than an inch of snow on the ground statewide.
Mignone said that currently, the snow depth in Bangor is 10 inches, which is two inches above the average, and there is 11 inches on the ground in Caribou.
He said that Mainers should expect more snow Friday into Saturday, as snow will initially fall across the Down East region and then change to sleet and freezing rain before changing over to all rain by late afternoon or early evening Saturday. The changeover to rain is expected to be as far north as the Bangor-Calais region.
Further north, it looks to be all snow through the early evening Saturday and then a mix of freezing rain and sleet all the way into the Caribou-Presque Isle region. Total snowfall over the 36 hour period is expected to be 3-6 inches, with the highest amounts expected across the far northern areas and lesser snowfall expected along the coast.
Up to 7 inches could fall across the St. John Valley and the Allagash region.
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