Many ski events were canceled or moved because of a warm Maine winter this year. However, one race that was held was the Roy Varney Hornet Classic in January at Leavitt Area High School in Turner where a coat-less Ruby Haylock of Leavitt competes. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Despite the surprise wintry weather last Thursday, according to the National Weather Service’s official “seasonal report,” the average temperature for Maine’s just-completed winter was 4.6 degrees above normal, tying it with the third warmest winter on record.

Many ski events were cancelled or moved because of the lack of snow due to a warm winter. Some events lucked out with just enough snow but much too hot for normal race conditions, like the Roy Varney Classic in Turner in November. Emma Charles, of Mt. Blue, tucks down a hill at Leavitt Area High School in Turner on her way to a first place finish at the Roy Varney Hornet Classic. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

For the period Dec. 1, 2019, through Feb. 29 of this year the average temperature was 30.2 degrees. The warmest was in 2001-02 when the average was 31.3 degrees. The coldest was 17.9 degrees in 1970-71. The weather service readings were taken at the Jetport in Portland.

While the weather service report doesn’t show a winter season heavy with snow, between the rain and snow it was a relatively wet one. A total of 15.55 inches of rain fell during that three-month period, which was 4.9 inches above normal, making for the wettest winter since 2012-13. A total of 50.2 inches of snow also fell, 4.1 inches above normal.

November hinted of a cold winter ahead. Early snow, sleet, freezing rain and temperatures that were sometimes 10 to 15 degrees below normal ran from Nov. 7 through the following two weeks. The average temperature for the month was 35.7 degrees, 3.7 degrees below normal and the sixth coldest on record. The coldest November on record was in 1967 with an average temperature of 34.7 degrees.

Lovers of winter were heartened by December’s substantial snow accumulation of 26.1 inches, 12.9 inches above normal and the snowiest since 2013. However, December’s average temperature ended up at 30.8 degrees, 2 degrees above normal and the second warmest on record.

December 2015’s average temperature of 37.9 degrees shattered the previous warm record.

With those warm temperatures, a total of 8.48 inches of rain also fell, 4.46 inches above normal, making this past December the fourth wettest on record.

Many ski events were canceled or moved because of the lack of snow due to a warm winter. However, one race that was held was the Roy Varney Hornet Classic at Leavitt Area High School in Turner where Emma Charles competed in shirtsleeves and won first place. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

January kept that warm trend going. It tied with January 2017 for the fourth warmest on record with an average temperature of 29.8 degrees, 7.5 degrees warmer than normal. The warmest January since 1941 was in 2002, with an average temperature of 30.4 degrees.

February tied with 1991 for the seventh warmest on record with temperatures 4.8 degrees above normal and an average temperature for the month of 29.8 degrees. For precipitation, 3.54 inches of rain fell, or .29 inches above normal, and 9.4 inches of snow fell, which is 2.7 inches below normal.

While March is not officially part of the weather service’s winter season report, it claimed a spot as the fourth warmest on record with an average temperature of 39 degrees, 5.5 degrees below normal.

The warmest March was in 2012 with an average temperature of 41.1 degrees.

The first few days of the month were significantly warmer than normal, melting all the snow by the March 5. On the 9th, the temperature reached 70 degrees in Portland, 4 degrees higher than the historic record for that day of 66 degrees set in 2016. In contrast, 6 inches of snow fell March 23 and 24, but it melted quickly.

As far as precipitation, a total of 3.44 inches of rain fell in March, .80 inches below normal and only 6.1 inches of snow fell, making the month the fourth consecutive “drier than normal” March on record and the least snowiest since 2015.

If the temperatures from November and March were added to the weather service’s seasonal report, it would still equate to one of the milder Maine winters on record.

Maine winter 2019-20 record-breakers: 7 warm, 2 cold records fall

Several weather records were set in Maine during the winter of 2019-20. Previous record years and temperatures are in parenthesis.

  • Nov. 12: coldest average temperature: 26 degrees (28 in 1942)
  • Nov. 13: coldest average temperature: 21 degrees (25 in 1941)
  • Dec. 9: warmest average temperature: 45 degrees (43 in 1950)
  • Dec. 10: warmest average temperature: 50 degrees (47 in 2008)
  • Dec. 14: 3.4 inches of rainfall (1.74 inches in 1917)
  • Jan. 11: warmest average temperature: 51 degrees (46 in 1983)
  • Jan. 12: warmest average temperature: 52 degrees (51 in 2014 and 1980)
  • March 3: warmest average temperature: 47 degrees (45 in 2002)
  • March 9: warmest average temperature: 54 degrees (53 in 2016)
  • March 9: high temperature record: 70 degrees (66 in 2016)
  • All data taken by the National Weather Service at the Portland Jetport.

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