Late-May snow and the real summer forecast

I received a number of inquires about the snow that fell on Saturday morning, May 23rd. First of all, the highest total was 5.2 inches from a reliable observer just north of Portage. In Presque Isle there was about an inch and at Caribou, there was officially 0.3 inches.
WeatherWhys    This may not sound like much, but in fact, it was the heaviest snowfall recorded that late in the season, with records going back to 1939. It was also almost the latest measurable snow on record, but the latest measurable snow remains the 0.2 inches which fell at Caribou on May 25th, 1974. (We use Caribou a lot because it is the main repository for climate records for northern Maine.)

On another topic, I recently released my summer forecast (the real one, not the April Fool’s one which called for numerous 100 degrees days). My forecast for Summer 2015 calls for 20 days with temps 80 or above (last year we had 36). The normal number of days where it is 80 degrees or warmer in a year, based on 30-year averages, is 26. Now, for growers and gardeners I am forecasting reliable, but not excessive rainfall, which is to say no long wet spells that will turn the fields to slop for days on end and drown crops, but enough to keep the crops healthy.
Finally as you get into the swing of summer weather, remember that super-handy, single number you can look at to judge how muggy it is outside. It’s the dewpoint. When it gets to 60 or higher, most folks from our area find it to be uncomfortably muggy.
Have fun on the water as we get into our warmer weather this summer and please remember, even if you are a strong swimmer, always wear your life jacket!
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