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Weather records set in January, according to NWS

CARIBOU, Maine — The first month of the year started with a bang, according to the National Weather Service in Caribou, with record-setting snowfall and below-average temperatures.

Todd Foisy, meteorologist for the NWS in Caribou, said that from  between the first dusting of snow on Oct. 18, 2018 and the present, 59.8 inches of snow had fallen in Caribou. That broke the previous record for January of 44.5 inches previously set in 1994. In concert with that, it almost broke the all-time record for the snowiest month ever, which occurred in Dec. 1972 when 59.9 inches of snow fell.

At the same time, 5.64 inches of rain and melted snow was observed in Caribou, which was the most on record. That broke the previous record of 5.60 inches in 1995.

Bangor also saw above average snowfall last month, according to the NWS. The city received 20.5 inches of snow, which was 1.3 inches above average. A total of 5.15 inches of rain and melted snow was recorded, which was more than two inches above average. It ranked as the tenth wettest January on record at Bangor.

Precipitation in most areas ranged from 150 to 200 percent of normal, but there were areas in central and northern Hancock County and central and northern Penobscot County where precipitation was only 75 percent to 110 percent of normal.

In Houlton, a high temperature of 47 degrees was recorded on Jan. 24, while 4.25 inches of precipitation fell. Caribou saw a high temperature of 39 degrees that same day.

Since winter began, 111.6 inches of snow has fallen in Caribou. The normal amount is 60.3 inches.

The most significant snowstorm of the month occurred on Jan. 20, which produced one to two feet of snow across northern areas and from six inches to a foot of snow downeast. Higher amounts were recorded in Aroostook County. Caribou saw 18.2 inches of snow from the storm.

During the polar vortex that caused wind chills of 50 to 60 below zero in some parts of the nation and contributed to multiple deaths, parts of Maine also saw bitter wind chills. New Sweden and Frenchville saw wind chills of 29 below zero from Jan. 30 into Feb. 1. Wind chills of 28 below zero were recorded in Fort Kent and Madawaska, while Caribou saw a windchill of 27 below zero.

When the month began, the snow depth ranged from six inches to a foot across the far north. The snow depth ranged from two to four feet across northern areas. Amounts dropped off rapidly to the south of Millinocket with four inches at Bangor and generally two to six inches for most areas downeast and along the coast.

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