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Below normal temperatures recorded in May

CARIBOU, Maine — Carolyn Graham of Houlton said Wednesday that she has always looked to her perennial garden to serve as a barometer regarding how well the spring is going.

“If temperatures are right on target with where they should be for May, I know that I will start seeing my hostas pop out of the ground and really start flourishing by the middle of the month,” she said.

So Graham said that she knew that May temperatures were “definitely” lagging below normal when she really didn’t see them start to thrive until the last week of the month.

“I have heard the same thing from several of my friends,” she said. “Their spring bulbs are starting to make up ground now after that long, snowy winter and the chilly spring.”

According to the National Weather Service in Caribou, temperatures in May averaged from two to four degrees below normal. At the same time, precipitation was above average in most places.

In Bangor, Caribou, and Millinocket, it was the coolest May since 2005, and at Houlton, it was the coolest since 1974.

Frost and freezing temperatures were an issue even late into the month, according to the weather service.

Caribou saw a temperature of 31 degrees on May 28, a low which broke the old record of 32 degrees from 1994. It was the first time there was a low temperature below freezing during the last four days of May, although sub-freezing temperatures have been observed in June.

Overall, the weather throughout the month lacked overall warmth, according to the NWS.

The highest temperature at Caribou last month was 73 degrees on May 25. It was one of only two days with a high in the 70’s. This resulted in the fewest 70 degree days during May since 1995.

In Houlton, a high temperature of 74 degrees was recorded on May 25, which was nine degrees above the normal average. A low of 27 degrees was recorded on May 28.

In Bangor, the high temperature for the month was 75 degrees, which was ten degrees above average. There were five days with a high of 70 degrees or warmer in the city that month, the fewest since 2005.

Parts of eastern Aroostook had below average precipitation. Houlton saw 2.6 inches of rain, which was seven tenths of an inch below average.

A trace of snow was recorded in Caribou on May 14 and May 15, which were the last flakes of the spring. From July 2018 to May, Caribou picked up 165.4 inches of snow, which was 56.7 inches above the normal amount of 108.7 inches. During the winter of 2017-2018, Caribou received 137.2 inches of snowfall.

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