State

Weekend chill breaks records ahead of storm

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — A record-breaking cold wave in mid-March followed by an old school blizzard may leave winter recreationists pleased this week.

Records for the coldest high temperature were broken across the state on Saturday, March 11, during a blustery, frigid weekend.

Overnight and early Saturday morning the entire state saw wind chill values in the negative double digits, with values ranging from negative 18 to negative 28 from Bangor to northern Aroostook County, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou.

In Caribou, the 1939 record for the lowest high temperature was easily broken on Saturday with a high temperature of negative 1 degree, according to the National Weather Service. Caribou also broke the 1939 record for having the latest-in-the-winter sub-zero high temperature.

Houlton, which hit 2 degrees Saturday, broke its 1995 record for the lowest-high of 19 degrees, and Bangor’s high of 13 degrees broke the 1950 record of 22 degrees, according to the NWS.

A number of downstate locations also broke records, with a 1 degree low temperature in Portland breaking the 3 degree record for the lowest March 11 minimum temperature, according to the NWS Gray station.

The cold weekend was good news for most but not all winter recreationists, particularly snowmobilers in portions of northern Maine that lost snowpack in the thaws earlier this month.

The annual Henry Anderson Ski Dag cross country ski race in Caribou, a part of the ongoing Aroostook Cup series, was canceled due to the cold, and Quoggy Jo Ski Center in Presque Isle, was closed both Saturday and Sunday.

Despite the cold and wind, Bigrock Mountain in Mars Hill stayed open for both weekend days — and the mountain now stands to benefit from a snowstorm beginning Tuesday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for all of Maine for Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning, as a storm impacting much of the Northeast was expected to drop a foot or more of snow across the state. Areas around Presque Isle were expected to receive 15 inches.

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