Snow for Thanksgiving and rain on Christmas! You might say Mother Nature was a bit confused headed into 2015. That is until the final week of January when the blizzard of 2015 arrived.
Definition of blizzard includes:
-Falling or drifting snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less.
-Wind sustained or gusting 35 mph or great.
-And all that happening for 3 hours or more. Official blizzard status arrived during the morning of the 27th.
When it was all said and done, the Portland Jetport received 23.8 inches of snow making it the 4th biggest snow storm on record.Those records began in 1881. Just a few days later, another storm hit. A snow pack of over two feet turned into a playground for snow lovers.
January 2015 was the coldest in five years. It was the snowiest January since 1987 (8th snowiest on record), 40.7″.
By the first week in February, records were being broken left and right. A record snowiest 7 day stretch was broken in Portland on the 2nd.
A state record for 10 day snowfall was smashed in Eastport with a whopping 76″ of snow measured.
On Valentines Day, one of the most memorable storms actually missed most of us. The Portland area picked up a few inches while parts of York county and Eastern Maine had close to two feet. It was a nightmare to forecast, and included the strangest snow totals forecast I’ve ever made.
February was the coldest on record in Portland averaging an incredible11.7 degrees blow normal. The average temp for the entire month was 13.8 degrees. 22 days of the month, the low was in the single digits or colder. It was common to see boats frozen in sea ice.
Not only was it the coldest since records have been kept at the Jetport, but also colder than any other February when readings were taken at other sites around the city back to the 1800s. It even was colder than 1934 which was the last time you could walk from Portland to Peaks Island on sea ice. It was so cold, we decided to build a news desk make of ice and take our broadcasts outside.
From January 24th through February 25th, Portland never went more than 2 days without measurable snow.
By March everyone needed a break and we got it. The snowy stretch came to an end, but the cold streak continued. Snow banks a dozen feet remained, and it was not uncommon to see the family dog making his way to the roof of the house.
An unstable snow pack resulted in 6 avalanches in only one day on Mount Washington on March 29th.
March 2015 ended 3.3 degrees colder than normal.
After the cold winter, April finally reversed the trend of very cold weather. It was the first month to finish above normal since December 2014. Winter’s last gasp was on April 8th and 9th when 2.9″ of snow fell. On April 14th the temperature hit 70 degrees.
May 2015 was known for it’s warm temperatures. The first 80 degree day arrived on May 7th when the temp reached 84 degrees. Saturday of Memorial Day weekend started with Frost Advisories and Freeze Warnings. A few of my pumpkin plants (inside a hoop house) froze.
Just a few days later the first 90 degree day of the year arrived. On May 26th the temperature reached 91 degrees.
It turned out to be the warmest May on record.
After a record warm May, the start of summer had a much different feel. On June 2nd, the high was only 50 degrees. It was the coldest June temp in nearly 60 years.
June 2015 ended the coldest in 6 years. Severe thunderstorms on the 23rd included a few supercells.
July featured average temperatures, but the coldest since 2009. On July 18th the rain ended just in time for the Tall Ships Parade in Portland Harbor. This was the office I shared with Kim Block that day.
More severe weather lingered into early August. A hail storm destroyed all the leaves in my pumpkin patch on the 3rd.
On the 12. Viewers sent me this great photos of mammatus clouds. They’re clouds associated with severe thunderstorms more typically viewed in big storms in the mid-west.
Augusts ended up warmer than normal again by 2.3 degrees.
The highlight of September occurred late in the month. On the 30th 5.56″ of rain fell in the bucket at the Jetport. It was the 7th wettest calendar day in 144 years of records. That in combination with an astronomical high tide, produced flooding in low lying areas in the city.
Our weather was quite nice during the month of October A low of 23 on the 19th was the coldest of the month since 2002. In spite of two distinct cool stretches, October ended up slightly warmer than normal.The first freeze of the season occurred on October 17th, which was about two weeks later than normal.
The month of November will be known for it’s warm weather, 5th warmest on record infact. That trend continued in to December with the warmest on record. El Nino became the weather buzz word during the second part of that month. Pansies were even blooming for some on the first full day of winter.
It was a slow start to winter in Maine and even Santa was turning towards man made snow at Sunday River.
Luckily he found his way to Maine, and winter will too as we turn the page to 2016. Happy New Year.