Christmas in Portland tied for the warmest Dec. 25 recorded, matching the previous high of 53 degrees last set in 1994.

Although much of the state felt spring-like weather on Thursday, dashing hopes of those dreaming of a white Christmas, only Portland’s temperature rose high enough to hit a historic high record, according meteorologist Mike Kistner of the National Weather Service in Gray.

The National Weather Service had forecast on Wednesday that both Portland and Concord, New Hampshire, were poised to tie or break record highs, but the morning rain and clouds didn’t clear fast enough for sunshine to warm the New Hampshire state capital. Concord hit a high of 51 degrees by the early afternoon, falling short of the record of 56 degrees set in 1889.

Kistner said a cold front entering the region on Thursday actually helped Portland’s temperature rise, since the moving air forced out cold air trapped near the Earth’s surface. Portland’s temperature also received a bump from westerly winds that blew in the warm air sloping downward from inland mountainous regions, he said.

Portland hit 53 degrees at 1:08 p.m. at the Portland International Jetport and then cooled again as the sunlight faded.

Other parts of southern and coastal Maine recorded temperatures in the high 40s or breaking into the 50s, but none reached record levels, Kistner said.

The forecast for Greater Portland calls for unseasonably warm weather, in the 40s, for the remainder of the holiday weekend, he said.

“We should see mostly sunny skies here, right up to the base of the mountains,” Kistner said. “The weather doesn’t turn until overnight Sunday.”

Temperatures on Monday are expected to fall to a more winterly norm of the low- to mid-30s in southern Maine.

This December has been warmer and wetter than average. In Portland, the mean temperature this month has been almost 4 degrees higher than an average December.

For the fall and winter seasons, Portland has had more snowfall this year than normal, with just below a foot compared to the average snowfall of 11.3 inches. That’s mostly from the snowstorm before Thanksgiving.

But the month of December has been far rainier and less snowy than normal.

Only 2.4 inches of snow have fallen this month, 7 inches below the December average. Including the rainfall from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Portland has had 5.92 inches of total “liquid equivalent” precipitation (the combination of rain and snow) compared to the average of 3.19 inches for the month.

“This December has been a great month as far as warm weather goes,” Kistner said. “It isn’t so great, though, for those who depend on snow to make a living.”

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: scottddolan

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