Opinion

Eight inches of snow and 96 degrees, just six days apart

Welcome to May! The river ice flushed out in late April, always a sight to behold, and always a relief when no damaging ice jams form. Now, in this Merry Month, we finally green up, and toward the end of May, our flowering trees are usually in their full glory. In-between it’s tulips and all kinds of other magnificent colors. Yes, there are the blackflies, too, but we won’t worry about that just yet.

May can certainly have many “weather moods.” It’s a month in which Caribou has seen its hottest temperature on record, 96 degrees, AND a month in which, just last year, parts of Presque Isle received as much 8 inches of snow, while Caribou officially had 4.5 inches. Even more amazingly, though they happened in different years, these events were within six calendar days of one another. The just-described snow in Presque Isle and Caribou fell last May 16th, while the 96 degree reading occurred on May 22, back in 1977.

By the end of May, The County’s average high climbs to the upper 60s. Also in May we begin the “Solar Sixty,” the 60 days with the strongest rays. They are the 30 days both before and after the June 21st Summer Solstice, thus the Solar Sixty runs from May 21st through July 21st. As you move both endpoint dates, one day at a time, moving the May dates 1 day forward, and the July dates 1 day earlier in the calendar, you will, at each one-day interval have two dates. These are the solar cousins, in terms of solar intensity at your location, which I discussed in my last column.

Finally, perhaps our last snow season check-in (unless last year repeats itself!). At this writing, if the snow season were to be done, Caribou is at 130.0 inches, 40 inches ahead of last year’s snow season, yet 67.8 inches shy of the record. That’s more than five feet! Incidentally, the snow season runs from July 1 to June 30 to make sure to capture any exceptionally early snowfalls or any exceptionally late ones.

Ted Shapiro holds the Broadcast Seal of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. An Alexandria, Va. native, he has been chief meteorologist at WAGM-TV since 2006. Email him at  tshapiro@wagmtv.com.

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