Raindrops splash off the helmet of Lewiston firefighter Bob Cailler at an accident on Bartlett Street in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon.

On the first day of summer, when the summer solstice should give us the most hours of sun, the sun seems to have gone missing, as it has much of the spring.

This spring hasn’t broken records for the volume of rain. “Not even close,” said National Weather Service Meterologist Eric Schwibs.

But unless you’re a duck, the weather hasn’t been delightful either.

If you have standing water in your yard that wasn’t there before, if you’ve had to reschedule that tee time, postpone planting or a trip to Funtown Splashtown USA, it’s because of a wet spring coupled with cooler temperatures and a lack of sunny days, National Weather Service Meterologist Derek Schroeter said.

The wet weather started in the winter when snow often came with rain, Schroeter said. Since January, rainfall has been 3 inches above normal and higher than average in April, May and June.

Lewiston Police Officer Kevin Gagne stands in the rain at an accident on Bartlett Street on Thursday afternoon.

Portland received 5.19 inches of rain in April, compared to the norm of 4.32 inches. In May, the city had 4.1 inches compared to the norm of 4.01. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the rainfall total recorded at the National Weather Service Office in Gray for June was 4.70 inches compared to the norm of 2.32 inches.

While those numbers don’t set records, when combined with the cloud cover and cold, the ground has had a harder time drying. With little sun “there isn’t much evaporation,” Schroeter said.

In April there were 20 days of rain.

“In May, we had 19 days with something falling from the sky,” he said. “The big thing for May was the average maximum temperature was 60.0 degrees. That’s well below the normal high of 63.5 degrees.”

June, so far, is also cooler than normal. The trend has been a glorious, sunny warm day followed by a day or two of rain and clouds. There was a string of sunny days June 7, 8 and 9. But the normal warm spells have been lacking, Schroeter said. “We’ve only broken 80 degrees once in Portland.”

Ed Jillson of Jillson’s Farm in Sabattus said too much rain and not enough sun is delaying planting and harvesting.

“We’re two or three weeks late,” Jillson said, adding it’s a big deal considering the short growing season.  The farm is harvesting and selling early vegetables such as lettuce, radishes and Swiss chard. As for later vegetables, “some of it’s in the ground,” some have yet to be planted.

The farm raises a lot of tomatoes in its greenhouses. “There’s been so many cloudy days, even those tomatoes will be late,” Jillson said.

The spring weather has meant Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco closed its water rides some days and closed the park a few days due to rain.

“We did have to close on Father’s Day,” Marketing Director Ed Hodgdon said.

Funtown opened June 6. Rain was more of an issue for setup before the opening, Hodgdon said. “But we powered through.”

“In this business, rain is a four-letter word,” he said.

One person who is pleased with the weather is Peter Geiger of Lewiston. He hasn’t had to water the grass planted last year outside Geiger headquarters. And he’s delighted with the accuracy of his Farmers’ Almanac on its long-range weather prediction.

Lewiston Police Officer Travys Fecteau stands in a downpour on Bartlett Street on Thursday afternoon at an accident involving a car and a bicyclist.

In the fall of 2018, the almanac predicted a late, chilly, wet spring.

“I hate to say ‘I told you so,'” Geiger said.

When he goes for a haircut or shops at Shaw’s, he gets praise and high-fives for being so accurate, he said.

What will the summer be like?

Temperatures will be near normal for most of the summer, Geiger said. But, there’ll be more wet weather but not scorching heat.

“It will be muggy,” he said. “We don’t use the word ‘hot’ until late July. There’ll be a lot of humidity.”

That’s much better, Geiger said, than a drought.

“Drought to me is like a cancer,” he said. “We can handle some rain and a few sunny days easier than miserable heat.”

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A man winces in pain at the corner of Bartlett and East Avenue in Lewiston Thursday afternoon after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


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