“For those who are dependent on ground water resources, the outlook is not good. The short term outlook shown here is below normal, and the outlook for September appears to be the same. Barring some sort of tropical influence or some other odd occurrence, we are in dry times and that appears likely to continue.” — Weather forecast from Aug. 18.

There is always something relatable and reassuring about the Pine Tree Weather forecasts. Perhaps that’s because Mike Haggett, the man who runs the service, is more or less one of us. He comes across as Every Man. He may be a trained weather forecaster, but like the rest of us grunts, he knows what it’s like to be at the mercy of the weather when it comes to day-to-day business.

Worried about your well? Need to get that lawn mowed? Planning a beach day or hoping to sneak off for a round of golf? Mike hears that. And he has exactly these kinds of things in mind when he issues his forecasts, which are always easy to follow — reading them is like having a conversation with a buddy, albeit a well-informed one.

Haggett, who used to manage community relations for the Lewiston Maineiacs, is the founder of Western Maine Weather, which later became Pine Tree Weather. Since Pine Tree came to Facebook in 2016, the page has been steadily growing in popularity, now up to almost 4,000 followers. The business itself is growing, to the point where Mike has taken on two assistants to help, while he continues his education in all things weather.

Since I’ve been personally turning to Mike’s page for all my weather needs — and since crazy, maddening, unpredictable winter is barreling toward us — I thought I’d ask him a question or two about how he got into the forecasting game.

How did you get into weather forecasting? After the Lewiston Maineiacs were sold and left town I was looking for something to do. There was a blown forecast in December 2011 where there was a solid snow event that never happened. I wanted to know why. I contacted Dave Eid at WGME to see if he would get me in touch with Charlie Lopresti. Dave was able to connect me with Charlie, and we arranged a few station visits where he showed me the process. From there, I was enrolled in the weather school of Hard Knocks And Busted Forecasts until I began to figure it out. Fast forward 8 years, I am now enrolled in Penn State’s weather forecast certification program.

What is it about weather that so galvanizes people? There is such a love/hate relationship with the weather by people in Maine. Some folks want cold and snow, others despise it. There are those who adore the heat and thunderstorms, others dread it. It’s a part of the fabric of the natives here to hate one season of weather.  I think it all depends on the person, how much cold or heat we’ve had, and how many layers of clothes they like to wear.

What’s the hardest part of forecasting? Precipitation, whether rain, snow or ice, is definitely the hardest. What looks like a 12- to 18-inch snow event or 2- to 5-inch rain five days out could end up being much less. Sometimes it goes the other way around where totals increase on short notice. Forecast models can generally get the right idea of storms within a few hours for timing, but the precipitation outcome may be different. Patience is an important part of forecasting precipitation amounts. It makes it hard as people need to plan for big events with as much timing as possible. Precipitation is the one part where forecast busts are likely to occur.

Which season is the most fun for forecasting? Winter is the most fun. People are paying close attention. Due to travel concerns, school closings, cancellations, along with the dependence of snow for the winter economy, folks are dialed in, whether they love snow or hate it.

Any chance winter will pass us by this year? If not, what should we expect? My general idea at this point is for the mountains and north to get decent snows, the foothills and coastal interior areas to deal with more of a wintry mix of snow, sleet, and ice, and the coastal shorelines with a mix of snow and rain. I see temperatures around normal or slightly above for the season. However, we’ll have a few three-dog nights where the furry friends may need extra warmth found in the master bedroom, which is typical for the season.


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