Saturday, March 09, 2013

February 2013 Climate Summary for northern and eastern Maine

Although February 2013 got off to a cold start with below normal temperatures much of the time the first ten days of the month...warmer than normal temperatures the remainder of the month more than made up for the cold start. By the end of the month...the average monthly temperature ranged from 2 to 4 degrees above normal. There were no new temperature records established at either Caribou or Bangor this past February.

Precipitation including snowfall was well above normal in most areas...although Bangor and some Downeast areas had near or slightly below normal liquid precipitation. Snowfall in many areas ended up at near record levels. At Caribou…a total of 44.2 inches was observed this past February...which was 22 inches above normal. It was the 2nd snowiest February on record behind only 2008 when 47.7 inches was observed. The total of 44.2 inches made this past February the 8th snowiest month ever observed at Caribou...but well behind the all-time record of 59.9 inches observed in December of 1972. The snow melted down to a total of 3.51 inches of liquid precipitation...which was the 5th highest total on record for the month of February.

Snowfall at Bangor totaled 33.9 inches for the month...which was 19.2 inches above normal. It was the 4th snowiest February on record...but well shy of the all-time record monthly snowfall of 62.5 inches which was observed in February 1969. The snow melted down to a total of 2.04 inches of liquid precipitation...which was nearly a half inch below normal. A total of 17.3 inches of snow was observed on the 9th which was the 4th highest calendar day snowfall on record for Bangor.

There were a number of high impact winter storms. The first on February 8th-9th produced blizzard conditions across much of Downeast Maine with up to 2 feet of snow in parts of coastal Washington and Hancock counties. Another winter storm produced blizzard conditions across much of northern and eastern Maine on February 16th-17th. The highest snowfall totals of a little over a foot were observed across coastal Washington County. Another storm impacted much of northern Maine on the 20th with 6 to 12 inches of snow across much of northern Maine. Finally at the end of the month...a snowstorm produced over a foot of snow across much of northeast Maine with up to 21 inches of snow at Fort Fairfield along the New Brunswick border.

Due to a rain event and major thaw at the end of January the snow depth at the start of February at caribou was only 1 inch (where 18 inches is typical on this date)...but by the end of the month the snow depth was 24 inches....which was 6 inches above what is typical for the end of February. At Bangor...there was no snow on the ground at the start of the month...and the snow depth peaked out at 21 inches on the 10th. By the end of the month the snow depth was 5 inches. The typical snow depth at Bangor in February varies from 6 to 8 inches.

The outlook from the climate prediction center for March indicates that there are no strong climate signals that tilt the odds in favor of a warm or cold march or an unusually dry or wet month. The amount of available daylight increases rapidly during the month of March with just over 11 hours at the start of the month and nearly 13 hours by months end.

February 27th - March 1st Snowstorm: Maine Data Map