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Aroostook hits record temps for over weekend

A group of young people gathers at “Jacuzzi Falls” on the Fish River in Fort Kent Monday afternoon to help beat the early fall heatwave. (Don Eno | SJVT/FhF)

Record-setting temperatures of high 80s and even 90 degrees Fahrenheit the past few days in Aroostook, Bangor and elsewhere in Maine have had residents throughout the state looking for ways to beat the heat, despite the relatively cool summer technically coming to an end last week. The highest temperature record in September in Maine is 99 degrees in Bangor on Sept. 7, 1945, NWS online statistics indicate.

Several places in northern Maine tied or broke date-specific records for warmth by a few degrees over the weekend and again on Monday.

Temperatures in Bangor hit 85 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and 89 on Sunday, breaking records that date back respectively to 1989 and 1930. The 88 degrees registered Monday in Bangor tied the record set in 1930.

George Safonov leaps into the pool below “Jacuzzi Falls” on the Fish River in Fort Kent, Monday afternoon, while David Paradis waits his turn. Several people gathered at the local swimming spot in an attempt to beat the high temperatures. (Don Eno | SJVT/FhF)

Caribou and Houlton in Aroostook County tied records on Saturday and then, along with Millinocket, exceeded them on Sunday. Houlton and Millinocket each registered 87 degrees on Sunday, while Caribou registered 85.

Augusta also set a record on Sunday of 87 degrees, breaking a record of 85 set in 1961.

Portland and Gray registered temperatures in the mid-to-high 80s over the weekend but were a few degrees short of setting records.

In Caribou on Monday, the temperature of 88 degrees broke a record of 83 degrees set on that date in 2007, according to Pete Rahe, meteorologist with the NWS Caribou office.

“It was just as hot today,” Rahe said Monday, with a number of Maine communities recording record breaking 90 degree days. Among the sites hitting 90 degrees, according to the meteorologist, were Estcourt Station, 92 degrees; East Millinocket, 91; Etna, 92; Hermon, 90; and Old Town 91 degrees.

David Paradis, right, and George Safonov, cool off at “Jacuzzi Falls” on the Fish River in Fort Kent, Monday afternoon. (Don Eno | SJVT/FhF)

“This is definitely out of the ordinary,” Rahe said.

Fort Kent potato grower Dale Caron said Monday that the heat has caused him to stop harvesting at noon each of the past few days.

“The potatoes themselves are just too hot,” he said, adding that putting warm potatoes into storage could lead to problems later on.

Over the weekend Caron tested the internal temperature of some spuds and found readings as high as 70 degrees.

“We need to store them at 40 to 45 degrees,” Caron said.

Caron said he and other growers have delayed or stopped harvest in the past for dry conditions, late skin set on the potatoes, and other reasons. But, when asked if a heatwave ever caused such a stoppage, he replied, “Never.”

The longtime farmer added that he knows the heat makes for difficult working conditions for the crews on the harvesters, tractors and trucks.

“All we can do is wait for mother nature,” said Caron.

This month is projected to be the warmest September on record for Bangor.

The average temperature recorded this month is 65.5 degrees, which would break the previous record from 1961 by two tenths of a degree if the temperatures stay high, according to the National Weather Service.

Siblings Kalie (left) and Keegan Raymond try to cool off in the water at Riverside Park in Fort Kent on Monday where the temperature hit 89 degrees in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service Caribou office. “It’s just a nice day for swimming,” Kalie said as the duo, ages 13 and 9 respectively, enjoyed their SAD 27 harvest break.
(Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Forecasters say it could be the second-warmest September in Caribou with a projected average temp of 61.6 degrees, which would be just one-tenth of a degree shy of the average from September 1999.

Caribou already has set a dryness record for the month, with no measurable rain for the past 15 days. The old record for September was 12 straight days without rain in 2009.

Writers Jen Lynds and Don Eno contributed to this report.

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