While the calendar indicates that it’s February, the temperatures, at least in Portland and Augusta on Tuesday, told a different story.

Mike Cempa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said new record highs for the date were set in both cities.

Portland reported a high temperature of 62 degrees around 4 p.m. That smashed the previous record high of 51 degrees in 2005.

Cempa said Augusta also experienced an unusually warm day, with the high temperature reaching 55 degrees, breaking the previous high of 48 degrees in 2006.

There’s no easy explanation for the elevated readings other than the fractured polar vortex, which has allowed not only arctic air to flow into Maine, but warmer air as well, Cempa said.

“The polar vortex is weaker, so there have been a lot of ups and downs in the temperatures,” he said.

The warm spell won’t last very long. Cempa said the high temperature in Portland on Wednesday will probably reach the mid-30s. Most of Wednesday should be clear and sunny before the weather changes over to a wintry mix.

Cempa is forecasting snow, sleet and rain during the Thursday morning commute in Portland. That weather pattern should change to rain by Thursday afternoon.

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