If you were feeling a tad hot, looking for shade outdoors on Saturday, there’s a good reason.

Saturday’s high temperatures broke records in much of Maine, National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Palmer said Sunday.

In Portland, Saturday’s high was 84 degrees. “That broke our previous record high of 81 degrees in 1961,” said Palmer, who works in the weather service’s Gray office. The average high for May 14 is 64 degrees. “That’s 20 degrees above average,” he said. “That’s pretty significant.”

Other places in interior Maine were even warmer.

“We broke quite a bit of records,” Palmer said. “Augusta’s high was 92 degrees on Saturday. The normal high is 65. The old record was 87 degrees in 1961.”

Saturday’s hottest spots in Maine were Winthrop and Harmony, according to NWS spotters who call in with temperatures and weather conditions.


Even Caribou was hot.

“Saturday was a record,” said NWS meteorologist Chris Norcross in the Caribou station. “We had a high temperature of 83. The previous record high was 81 in 1961.” A normal temperature for this time of year in Caribou is 63, Norcross said.

Bangor and Millinocket also set record highs by reaching 90 on Saturday, the Caribou office tweeted.

The weather pattern made Saturday an unseasonably hot day, Palmer said. “We had a high pressure over the last few days that allowed dry and clear weather with no wind.” There were no clouds, and that gave the sun a direct hit to Maine, warming the state.

That’s a far different story from a week ago.

“It got below freezing on May 9, a low of 31 in Portland,” giving grass a frost coating that morning. “Spring can be pretty cold and suddenly very warm,” Palmer said. Temperatures cooled on Sunday, and Monday’s forecast calls for some rain and thundershowers.


Experts caution that even if a day is hot this time of year, people shouldn’t go into the water.

The NWS warns that cold water conditions remain a threat for water recreation despite warm temperatures, and that thermal shock is the primary danger when going in area lakes or rivers.

The weather agency has a buoy off the Portland shore that recorded the ocean’s temperature at 49.8 degrees on Saturday. “We’re advising people not to swim in the water without protective gear,” Palmer said.

Mark Latti of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife advises boaters to wear life jackets, especially this time of year, and including those who are experienced swimmers. “If you fall in the water, it is so cold you won’t last. In 10 to 15 minutes you lose the ability to use your muscles,” Latti said Sunday.

Two weeks ago a commercial fishermen in the Ellsworth area fell in the water and drowned, Latti said. On Wednesday Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce’s kayak capsized on Sebago Lake. He was transported to Maine Medical Center, treated for hypothermia-related symptoms and released. The water temperature of Sebago Lake was about 48 degrees. Joyce was not wearing a life jacket, Latti said. “The sheriff is extremely lucky someone heard his cries for help.”

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