Heat wave could bring record breaking temperatures to Aroostook

1 month ago

FORT KENT, Maine – Heat records throughout Aroostook County and beyond may be met, or even broken, during a heat wave predicted to peak on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service in Caribou is predicting that Fort Kent will get close to breaking its previous all-time record by hitting 96 degrees on June 19. Fort Kent, according to the National Weather Service, is not an official climate site and official records are not kept of the community. Unofficial records, however, indicate that Fort Kent’s all-time high temperature was 98 degrees, recorded back in 1893. 

Fort Kent’s record temperature for June 19 is 94, which was set in 2020. This year, it is poised to break that daily record by two degrees.

Caribou and Houlton are also expected to hit or exceed their record numbers on Wednesday as well. 

Caribou’s all-time record high is 96 degrees, which was also most recently set on June 19 of 2020. It is projected to hit this same number on Wednesday. 

Houlton’s all-time record high is 99 degrees, set in 1975. Its record high for June 19 is 95, which was set in 2020. Houlton is projected to surpass this daily record by hitting 96 degrees on Wednesday. 

“The heat wave here almost corresponds perfectly with the one back in 2020,” Strauser said.

He said records for the highest low temperatures, many of which were also set in 2020, may also be broken this week.

“The caveat with those is they’re over a 24-hour period,” he said. “So it’s not just the low temperature in the morning. It has to last the whole 24 hours through midnight.”

In Millinocket, for example, Strauser said the warmest lowest temperature record on June 20 was 69 degrees, but it is currently forecast at 73 degrees this year.

Heat waves are defined as three consecutive days where the temperature is above 90 degrees. Strauser said these are fairly uncommon in Maine, and even more uncommon in the northern and eastern parts of the state.

Days where the temperature is above 90 degrees are somewhat more frequent in Maine, but Strauser said heat waves like this occur maybe once or twice per decade.

For anyone who may be out during the heatwave, Strauser recommended staying hydrated, staying cool, and limiting physical activity during the hottest hours of the day, which are typically from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Earlier this year, above average temperatures led to the cancellation of the Can-Am sled dog races due to weather for the first time in three decades. The weather also caused an early end to northern Maine’s snowmobile season – a major economic engine for the region.

Looking ahead, Strauser said this summer is already on par to be warmer than average.

“We are well above normal already for this June,” he said. “Our average temperature departure is already about 3.4 degrees above normal since June 1. So we are definitely off to a warm start.”