Rare Spring Heatwave Brings Record Highs To Northern Maine

May 28, 2020

A rare spring heatwave is causing record high temperatures and dry conditions across Northern Maine, just a couple of weeks after the last snows.

Meteorologist Victor Nouhan with the National Weather Service in Caribou says it is a little extraordinary to have such hot conditions so close on the heels of freezing temperatures and snow, but he says the phenomenon is due to a type of high-pressure system that’s trapping hot, dry air closer to the ground — something more commonly seen over southeastern states.

“We’ve had a blocking upper-level high that’s come out of the Great Lakes and it’s actually amplified somewhat as it has come across Northern New England,” he says. “They can hang on to hot weather for a long, long time and deflect cold fronts. But every once in a while here in the late spring you can get a period like this, so this is not completely out of the question.”

In fact, Nouhan says Caribou’s all time high temperature of 96 was recorded during a similar spell back in 1977, which happened on May 22.

Nouhan says he does not anticipate that the system will last and that rains and cooler temperatures will return.

Wednesday, Houlton recorded its record high of 91 for the date, breaking the record of 89 set back in 1972. Millinocket tied its record high — also at 91. Houlton also had its warmest overnight low temperature on record at 62 degrees, breaking the record of 58 set in 2015.