April is the cruelest month

So wrote T. S. Eliot — but ‘round these here parts, February certainly wasn’t very kind either! It was expensive and downright uncomfortable.
Well, it turns out there’s a pretty good reason it felt so cold, it actually was the coldest February on record at Caribou! And records go all the way back to when the “Wizard of Oz” came out, 1939.

Down in Bangor, not only was it the coldest February, is was the coldest month ever, and there, in the Queen City, records go back to 1926. Now, let’s play with the numbers for a second. If you consider that there are only three months — December, January and February — where you could be the coldest, and if records at Bangor go back to 1926, that’s 90 years of records, multiplied by three months each year where a record is possible. This means that out of 270 possible “coldest months” at Bangor, February 2015 was the coldest of them all.
And my goodness, what an apocalyptic snow barrage from Boston to Eastport and up into portions of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Boston had only exceeded 100 inches of snow once in its 143 years of record-keeping, yet by the time you read this, the 100-inch mark will have been eclipsed again, with the likelihood of a new single season record.
The fine sportswriter, Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe, who has lived in the same Boston neighborhood for 50 years, reports that he has never seen depths like he has seen this year. Over in Maritime Canada, there were reports of more than six feet of snow laying on the ground!
Let’s close this winter tour by heading back to Caribou for a moment, where a 43-day stretch of sub-freezing temperatures finally ended on March 4th. This run of sub-freezing days tied for the fourth longest on record, the longest was 53 days, ending on February the 9th of 2001.
A final, important note for those with interests in the areas which received heavy snow this winter, a deep snowpack does not ensure spring flooding. It takes snowmelt and heavy rainfall to create major river flooding. The St. John Valley flood of 2008 is a perfect example. That was at the end of northern Maine’s huge snowfall season, but the flood would not have been severe had not three inches of rain fallen in late April, (which certainly was cruel that year!)
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.