The Star-Herald

Streaks

Just like our favorite sports teams do, weather can sometimes go on quite a streak, and we certainly had a most-impressive one that ended last Monday. It was a streak of six straight days with the high temperature at Caribou remaining at or below 5 degrees fahrenheit (5 F).  Beginning on Dec. 27, and continuing through Jan. 1, the high temperatures, recorded at the Caribou National Weather Service office, were: 1, 3, 1, 1, 5, 1.

Records at Caribou go back to 1939, and there had only been three other times when there had been runs of at least six consecutive days where it was 5 degrees or colder. The other six-day steak was Dec. 16 through 21, 1942; then there was a seven-day streak from Jan. 13 through 19, 1971, and the top mark, an eight-day streak, occurred from Feb. 10 through 17, 1979.

Interestingly we had a streak on the other side of the scale a couple of years ago, a record for consecutive days of high temperatures of at least 80 degrees, again measured at the Caribou NWS office. That streak ran from Aug. 14 through 23, back in 2015. That was a 10-day streak and, again, is the longest streak of 80-degree days on record. There were three nine-day streaks, and nine eight-day streaks.

Moving to a different topic, with this being the first column of 2018, I thought we would look at some standouts from 2017.

There was the astonishing sleet storm on the night of Jan. 14 and 15, where Caribou measured 4.2 inches of sleet. Driving home from work that night was one of the oddest driving experiences of my life.  It was just like driving in deep sand, and if you were out that night, you’ll agree that it was mighty tough to get around.

The heaviest 24-hour snowfall of the year was the 11.7 inches, which fell on March 14. This was the only 24-hour double-digit snow of 2017.

There were two wind gusts in Caribou in 2017 that exceeded 50 mph. There was a 59 mph gust during the March 14 snowstorm. The other 50-plus gust was a 55 mph gust during a severe thunderstorm on May 18, a day that saw Caribou reach 90 degrees, even though the day before and the day after were both in the 60s.

The summer of ’17 will be remembered for low rivers, with some long-time County residents telling me that they were seeing levels lower than any that they could recall.

September and October were exceptionally warm, and autumn color was long-lasting.

There was a tremendous windstorm in late October that knocked out power for almost half of the state’s population.  Areas south of The County were impacted much harder than we were.

Snows didn’t really start flying until the evening of Dec. 9, and December ended up being the snowiest month of 2017, with 34.2 inches falling at Caribou, just shy of 3 feet.

Finally, at this writing, just before deadline, we are in the midst of a wild snowstorm. The storm is very intense and will have significant impacts for a couple of days after the snow ends, with open terrain whiteouts and significant drifting, along with an unwelcome return of bitterly cold air. A number of locations have already experienced more than one foot of snow with this storm, and the blowing and drifting have been horrendous.

It’s early in the morning of the 5th of January of our brand new year of 2018, a year that I hope is a good one, for you and yours.

Ted Shapiro holds the Broadcast Seal of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. An Alexandria, Va. native, he has been chief meteorologist at WAGM-TV since 2006. Email him at tshapiro@wagmtv.com.  

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