2016 year in review at Northern and Eastern Maine
2016 will be remembered for above normal temperatures for the entire region with a split precipitation regime featuring above normal precipitation across the far north and significantly below normal precipitation elsewhere across the region.
Temperatures for the year averaged 1.5 to 2.0 degrees above average region wide. At Caribou, the mean of 41.9 was tied for the 5th warmest with 2011 and 1979; while at Bangor the mean of 45.9 was tied as 7th warmest with 1991. At Houlton the mean of 42.1 was the 9th warmest year on record.
For precipitation, total yearly values ranged from as low as 75 percent of normal across central and Downeast areas which was along the northern edge of a major northeast U.S. drought, but upwards of 120 percent of normal over portions of the extreme north. At Caribou, the yearly total of 43.96 inches was the 11th wettest, while at Bangor it was the 13th driest.
Memorable events during 2016:
January: Temperatures were well above average and the snow depth by the end of the month was only 20 to 40 percent of average.
February: Temperatures were well above average and by the end of the month there was little or no snow on the ground at the coast, and generally only one quarter to one third of average across northern areas. The meteorological winter (December 2015 through February 2016) ranked as the warmest on record at Caribou and Bangor.
March: A total of 4.7 inches of rain (and melted snow) was observed at Caribou making it the 6th wettest march on record.
April: A cold and dry end to the month. The last 10 days of the month all had a low temperature of 32 degrees or lower at Caribou. No measurable precipitation was observed at caribou from April 13th through the 30th.
May: A late season winter storm produced 4.5 inches of snow on the 16th at Caribou, which was the greatest snowfall ever observed so late in the season. Up to 8" of snow was observed in Presque Isle.
July: A supercell thunderstorm produced a brief EF-0 tornado. The short lived EF-0 tornado with estimated maximum winds around 80 mph touched down on the north side of Tangle Ridge Road then travelled around a 100 yards into the woods several miles to the north of Caribou.
August: A severe thunderstorm early in the morning of the 6th produced 1.5 inch diameter hail at Caribou and caused extensive damage to vehicles and roofs in the area. Hail damage to vehicles alone was estimate at 1 million dollars in Caribou
September: Warmer than average temperatures delayed the onset of the fall foliage. By the end of the month fall foliage was only 10 to 40 percent of peak from the Katahdin region north to the Saint John Valley in an area where the peak usually occurs around the end of September.
October: No measurable snowfall was observed at Caribou, with the only measurable snowfall of 1 to 2 inches observed in higher elevations of central and southern Piscataquis County on the morning of the 28th. Fall foliage peaked during the first week of the month in the Saint John Valley, but not until mid-month along the Down East coast.
November: Tied with 2009 as the 2nd warmest November on record at Caribou. The lowest temperature of 23 degrees at Caribou was the first time that the temperature failed to drop into the teens during the month of November.
The first measurable snow of the season at caribou held off until the 21st, the 2nd latest on record. Two heavy snow events late in the month resulted in the month ending with 20.2 inches of snow at Caribou. The snow depth of 16 inches at the end of the month was the 4th greatest on record.
December: A very snowy month across northern areas with 41.2 inches of snow at Caribou which made it the 7th snowiest December on Record.
There were 20 days with measurable snowfall at Caribou, which was the 2nd most on record behind only 2013 when there were 23 days with measurable snow.