Record high temps have homeowners seeing green, but not ski areas


LEWISTON – Green lawns. Joggers in T-shirts. Temperatures climbing into the 60s. Lost Valley Ski Area shut down.

What’s wrong with this picture?

It looked and felt like spring. But it’s early January.

A thunderstorm, replete with lightning, even swept through Maine on Saturday, more typical of a June evening.

Its winds gusted up to 40 mph, knocking out power to more than 1,100 customers in the Farmington area, said a Central Maine Power Company spokesman.

Portland temperatures reached 67 degrees, a record high for that date and also for the month. The warmest date on record for Jan. 6 prior to Saturday was in 1949 when temperatures hit 53 degrees, said Butch Roberts, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray. The warmest recorded temperature in January had been 64 degrees in 1950 on two different days. Mt. Washington also set a record at 42 degrees, breaking the old mark of 37 degrees, set in 1946.

Today is expected to be nearly as warm, but without the rain, Roberts said.

“It should be a nice day.”

But don’t get too comfortable.

Tonight, a cooling trend should send temperatures falling to near freezing in many areas, and below freezing in the mountains.

A couple of inches of snow should accumulate there tonight and a couple more on Monday, Roberts said.

That should please folks at Lost Valley Ski Area, whose outgoing recorded message Saturday was: “Due to the weather conditions, the slopes will not be open today.” The electronic voice said management hoped to reopen this morning at 10, but skiers and boarders should call ahead.

Temperatures closer to normal are expected this week, but they’ll still be on the warm side, Roberts said.

“So far, a good winter for anybody heating with oil,” he said.