Patriots Day Storm 10 Years Ago Sunday

Wow time flies.  It seems like just yesterday we were forecasting one of the strongest storms in recent memory. I’m referring to the Patriots Day Storm of 2007, and this Sunday marks the 10 year anniversary. These weather graphics look older to me, but that another story.

The storm had many impacts here in Maine including damaging wind, dangerous flooding, huge waves, inches of rain, and feet of mountain snow.   On the morning of April 16th 2007 the surface map looked like this.

The view from space looked like this.

A 972 Millibar low centered near Long Island New York put coastal Maine in the bulls eye for strong easterly winds.  Here were some of the peak gusts from that morning.

  • Cape Elizabeth 81 MPH
  • Freeport 61  MPH
  • Bath 61 MPH
  • Portland 59 MPH
  • Rockland 54 MPH
  • Wiscasset 53 MPH
  • Mount Washington  156 MPH

I remember this toppled tree in Deering Oaks Park in Portland. The torn up grass looks like a carpet.

Heavy rainfall was another major variable.  These are the rain totals, not snow totals…

  • Madison NH  8.55″
  • Farmington  6.07″
  • Hartford  6.70″
  • Lewiston/Auburn  5.95″
  • Fryeburg 5.95″
  • Portland 5.60″
  • Brunswick 5.25″
  • N. Sebago 4.50″
  • Augusta 3.37″

I vividly remember trying to drive to work the morning of the 16th.  The combination of downed trees, and flooded roads made many roads impassable. I remember turning around twice due to water flowing over the road.  Folks at NWS Gray always say “Turn Around Don’t Drown”. It’s important because you never know how deep the water is or if there’s a road left under the water.

Another major part of the storm was the astronomical high tide.  At 10:43 AM on April 16th, the tide reached 13.3′ in Portland. That was the highest tide in the city in 17 years.
Waves were amazing as well.  I kept checking the hourly buoy observations as wave heights along coastal Maine approached 25 to 30 feet.  And then…. Casco Bay Buoy recorded a max wave height of 31. 5′.  That was the last wave it recorded, as the buoy was found washed up on shore days later.

The power of the ocean that day moved all these huge rocks onto the picnic area at Fort Williams.

Camp Ellis in Saco was hit especially hard at high tide.  The area is known for erosion problems, and on that day, two homes were destroyed by the ocean.

Most of the region received an inch or two of snow before the change to rain the 15th into the morning of the 16th. There was one area however that didn’t experience the change over.  If you ski Sugarloaf, you  probably remember April 2007.  Over 95″ of snow fell in a three week period in April.  This was a photo the mountain sent me a few days after the storm.

April 2007 was interesting from a meteorological perspective and it has some similarities to this April.   Prior to the Patriots Day Storm, southern and Central Maine received two snow storms during the first two weeks of the month.  One of which dumped a foot of snow in Portland.  The April fools day storm from two weeks ago brought 10 inches.
The recent stretch of warm weather will be coming to an end  next week.  The pattern looks active once again with the chances for more storms.  Lets hope none of them are anything like the Patriots Day Storm of 2007.

If you have a memory from the Patriots Day Storm, I’d love for you to share it.  You can connect with me via Facebook here:
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Charlie Lopresti

About Charlie Lopresti

Charlie makes up the "Weather Part" of CBS News 13s evening edition. A native New Englander, he grew up enjoying the area's exciting and sometimes wild weather.