Getting to know our climate

10 years ago

Greetings. This is the first of what will be a bi-weekly column about weather tales and contrails, whispering winds and raging gales.
But I thought the first thing we should do is get acquainted. With our weather that is. Or, more specifically, with our climate. The climate of a place is simply what’s it typically like, weather-wise, over the course of the year.
So, if you had just moved from southern California, to Presque Isle, Maine, what should you expect?

Well, unlike California,  M. Nature is kind to us in the precipitation department. Precipitation, both rain and snow, is generally quite reliable, right across the calendar year. We average a bit more than three feet of total water every year. That’s rain and melted snow. That means if you got it all at once, and were standing in a bucket, it would come up to a lot of folks’ waists!
Summers are mild and hot weather spells tend to be rather brief. The warmest average high is in the upper 70s, while the warmest average lows are in the mid-50s.
We average 27 days which are 80 degrees or warmer, and only two days where it is 90 degrees or warmer.
The most 80s in a year? 51. The fewest? Only six.
How about the most 90s? 11. The fewest? None … for almost five years (!) in the first half of the 1970s.
Now, let’s switch to winter. Well for starters, we average about a basketball rim’s height worth of snow … the hoop is 120 inches and we average 110. The most snow in a season, not too long ago, was just shy of 200 inches in the snowblitz winter of 2007-08.
As for winter temperatures, the coldest average highs are in the upper teens and the coldest average lows are right around 0.
Occasionally we see bouts of extreme cold. In fact, this past January 2, Caribou had a high temperature of 15 degrees below zero. This was the second coldest high temperature since they started keeping records back in 1939!
We have a well-defined, four-season climate, and I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts about it with you in the weeks and months ahead.
Wishing you fair skies and following seas.
  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 tedintheclouds