Gusts up to 60 mph and record-high temperatures could greet Mainers as they awake to unwrap Christmas gifts on Friday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for the coast from Portland to Eastport and inland to Greater Bangor, while a hazardous weather outlook is in effect for the rest of the state. Those are in place from Friday morning to that evening.
A warm air mass is rising up from the Caribbean, bringing with it high winds, heavy rain and high temperatures, according to the weather service’s Caribou office.
For some towns and cities, that could mean new record highs for Christmas. In Bangor, the record-high temperature is 54 degrees Fahrenheit set in 2014 and 2015, based on weather data dating back to 1925. Friday’s forecast high is 55 degrees.
Other records are in the forecast for Millinocket (54 degrees), Houlton (54 degrees) and Caribou (53 degrees), with previous record highs of 53 degrees, 53 degrees and 48 degrees, respectively.
Christmas Day also will be marked with high winds and a chance for heavy rain. Winds are forecast to blow at a sustained 30 to 40 mph, with gusts reaching as high as 60 mph, according to the weather service. The winds are likely to be highest from Bangor to Eastport.
Those high winds could bring down tree limbs and power lines, making “widespread outages” possible on Friday.
“As we prepare our crews for a storm beginning Christmas Eve, we encourage the public to prepare for the possibility of power outages as well as difficult travel conditions,” Allison Doughty, Versant Power’s storm manager, said Wednesday. “With such strong winds in the forecast, it is possible that conditions will be unsafe for our line crews, which may delay restoration times.”
Rain could be heavy at times, with as much as 1 to 3 inches falling in places, according to the weather service. Heavy rainfall will be more likely in Piscataquis, northern Penobscot and southern Aroostook counties.