November 15, 2018
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Climate forecasters say Maine likely to have above-average temps this winter

Maine has strong odds to be warmer than usual this winter.

That’s the message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, which released its 2018-19 winter outlook report Thursday — coincidentally, on the day many Mainers woke up to their first dustings of snow for the season.

The organization’s predictive maps placed Maine in a sweeping band of orange, signifying that center forecasters believe the state is among those with a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of being “warmer than normal.”

Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert said in a statement a “weak El Nino” could bring “warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North.”

Broadly speaking, “El Nino” refers to a climate effect caused by warming sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean.

The NOAA outlook covers the months of December, January and February, when the average high temperatures in Portland are 37 degrees, 31 degrees and 35 degrees, respectively.

The average highs in Bangor over those same months are 34 degrees, 27 degrees and 31 degrees.

The same NOAA report expects Maine to have about an average winter in terms of precipitation. Portland averages 13 inches, 19 inches and 12 inches of snow in the three months in question, while Bangor averages 14 inches, 19 inches and 15 inches, respectively.

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook seems to at least indirectly contradict the one released by the 2019 Farmers’ Almanac, an annual Lewiston-based publication which uses a mathematical and astronomical formula created in 1818 to come up with long-range forecasts.

Farmers’ Almanac Editor Peter Geiger said in late August his publication predicts “a very long, cold and snow-filled winter.”

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