April 20, 2018
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Maine to emerge from deep freeze Monday with rising temperatures, light snow

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
A tug boat sits moored off Portland's East End as sea smoke rises around it, Jan. 2, 2018. Sea smoke is formed when very cold air moves over warmer water. On Monday, temperatures will rise to the mid to upper 20s, marking an end to the bitter cold that has sat over Maine since late December.
By Callie Ferguson, BDN Staff
Updated:

A thin layer of snow is expected to blanket the state Monday, accompanied by higher temperatures that will lift Mainers out of a frigid weekend cold snap.

In Bangor Saturday night, the weekend chill may have been responsible for a downtown power outage that shut off the lights and heat for 1,500 customers around 9:30 p.m. for 2 ½ hours, according to an Emera Maine spokesman.

But sometime Monday morning, warm air will arrive alongside snow that will sprinkle down on Greater Bangor, coating the region with 1 to 2 inches by evening.

Much of the state will receive the same amounts, with the exception of the southern coastline, predicted to get less than an inch, and the far north, expected to see 3 to 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow will come with warmer air, forecasters said. Temperatures in the mid-20s and around the freezing mark will arrive overnight and mark the end of a windy, bitter cold front that trapped Maine below zero for much of the weekend, according to Michael Cempa, a forecaster with the weather service office in Gray.

Sunday’s temperatures were milder than Saturday’s, when the cold was intensified by severe wind chills that prompted advisories.

“Relatively speaking, [Sunday] will not be such a bad day. We have to talk in relative terms right now, right?” Cempa said, of the string of cold weeks that have chilled Maine since Christmas.

On Saturday, the overnight freeze pushed Portland toward a record low of 11 below zero for Jan. 6.

In Bangor, it was 8 below, but the wind chill made the air feel like it was in the minus 20s.

Ice from the cold is likely what caused equipment at a power substation behind Bangor City Hall on Park Street to stop working, killing the lights and heat for 1,500 residential and business customers in downtown, according to Emera spokesman Bob Potts.

“Because of the cold, we really did sense some urgency and we had a number of people jump on it right away,” he said, explaining that power was restored gradually to all customers over the course of the next 2 ½ hours.

Crews prioritized getting power back to St. Joseph Hospital on Broadway, which had back-up generators kick in after the substation failed, Potts said. It also doused a handful of street lamps, he said.

The outage didn’t deter revelers at Paddy Murphy’s from carrying on with their night, according to Shane Lewis, who was cooking at the West Market Square pub’s gas grill when the lights suddenly went out.

A band playing for the nighttime crowd was half-way through a song when their amps died, Lewis said. But instead of packing up, they switched to an acoustic set and played for another 40 minutes, at one point leading the the bar in a sing-along.

“It gets pretty warm in here with all the people,” he said, noting that the lack of heat didn’t dampen the mood.

But far from Bangor, the coldest parts of Maine were nearer to the New Hampshire border, in Fryeburg and Cornish, where the mercury dropped to minus 26 in the evening, according to Cempa.

By that time, winds that had been blowing at 10 to 15 mph had died down, sparing those areas from wind chills that could have made the air feel even colder, he said.

To the west, the mountaintops of New Hampshire were some of the coldest places in the nation Saturday night. The peak of Mt. Washington felt like 68 below, as 60 mph winds combined with the minus 25 degree temperature to create a face-pinching chill, Cempa said.

By Sunday morning, gusts across Maine had diminished and wind chill warnings and advisories were expected to lift by midday, said Mark Bloomer, a forecaster with the weather service in Caribou.

“Just another day in our cold stretch,” the high temperature in Bangor Sunday was predicted at 8 degrees, Bloomer said.

That will change overnight, when the temperatures are expected to rise to a Monday high of 27 in Bangor.

Tuesday during the day will be even warmer, as thermometer readings climb toward the freezing mark, before sloping back down into the single digits overnight, Bloomer said.

Thursday could get into the mid-30s across the entire state, accompanied by widespread rain, he said.

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