LEWISTON — January gave us warmer temperatures than expected — and much less snowfall. 

For some, these variations hurt business and limited the ability to participate in outdoor winter activities like skiing and ice-fishing. For others, the mild winter has been great, as it means less shoveling, slipping, and dangerous driving. 

There has been, of course, a bit of drama surrounding ice-fishing this season, as the water has not been frozen enough to be considered safe, but passionate anglers are still looking to get out there. 

Independent plowing and shoveling companies have experienced a major decline in activity from last winter, from January 2015’s 4.67 inches to January 2016’s 3.36 inches. 

“As far as the weather goes, it’s been much warmer than usual,” Bob Marine of the National Weather Service in Gray said. “In the top 10, definitely.”

The average temperatures from January 2016 range from 26.2 degrees Fahrenheit, with the warmest day hitting 52 degrees on Jan. 10, and the lowest hitting 1 degree on Jan. 22. 

A normal January in Central Maine sees average high temps at 29 and low temps at 11, with 3.9 inches of precipitation. 

While this year’s average temperature isn’t actually that warm, it is a solid departure from the low temps we’re used to seeing in the middle of a Maine winter. 

There have been more warm days than cold days — and that has made the biggest difference. Snow has melted quickly and ice has not been able to stick around for long.

Some folks, including myself, are content to see the warmer temperatures, though it does seem a bit unsettling. But at least I don’t have to clean my car off every morning! 

As far as what to expect in the near future, Marine said that “the next few days are going to stay pretty warm. Some places in Maine might even hit 60.”

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