Over the past three winters residents of northern and eastern Maine have experienced winter weather extremes. The winter of 2007-2008 will be remembered for its record to near record snowfall with some locations approaching 200 inches of snow. The winter of 2008-2009 will be remembered for the extremely cold outbreaks during which a new state record low of minus 50 was set. The winter of 2009-2010 will be remembered for its warmth. Based on data compiled by the National Climatic Data Center, for the winter season, 63 percent of the country experienced below normal temperatures. In contrast to this national trend, Maine experienced the third warmest winter and parts of northern Maine experienced the warmest winter on record.
An unusual and persistent weather pattern in place since December brought the warmest winter to Caribou Maine since official records began in 1939 and the 2nd warmest winter since 1926 to Bangor Maine. This weather pattern has also put Caribou and Bangor on track for one of the least snowiest snow seasons on record. Since meaningful snow can happen well into April, there is still a chance that snowfall totals can increase.
A large blocking pattern in the atmosphere over Greenland and the Canadian Maritimes displaced the storm track well to the south of Maine and into the Mid-Atlantic States. This resulted in a flow of relatively warm and moist maritime air over Maine during much of this winter. Warmer air combined with frequent cloud cover and windy conditions often kept nighttime temperatures from plummeting as typically occurs during this time of year. With the exception of a few short lived cold outbreaks, the state did not receive the normal steady supply of cold air from interior Canada.
In Bangor, overnight temperatures dropped to zero degrees Fahrenheit or less just three times this winter compared to 31 occasions during the winter of 2008-2009. In the winter of 2008-2009, Caribou residents endured a stretch of 40 days without reaching 32F. During the winter of 2009-2010, temperatures exceeded the freezing mark 46 days. Other temperatures from around the region included Houlton (average winter temperature 24.7F), Frenchville (average winter temperature 22.3F), Greenville (average winter temperature 22.8F), and Millinocket (average winter temperature 26.3F).