Mainely Weather, Winter 2011-2012 Edition: The Stormy Summer of 2011
by Victor Nouhan
Overall, the summer of 2011 averaged about 0.5 to 1.0 degree above normal across northern and eastern Maine. After a cool start in June, the only standout readings of 90+ degrees occurred over central and southern portions of the region on July 22nd, when a portion of a large and intense heat wave gripping much of the Midwest and Mid Atlantic states was able to wedge briefly into this portion of our area. Northern portions of the region escaped this heat, however, with most locations not receiving even a single 90+ degree day. With all of the wet weather this season, most of the contribution to finishing slightly above normal was a result of warm cloudy nights rather than warm days.
Speaking of wet, this summer will particularly be remembered for well above the average number of days of severe thunderstorms and flash flooding particularly over northern portions of the region, topped off by heavy to flooding rainfall from Tropical Storm Irene near the end of August. At Caribou, the summer season total rainfall of 26.57 inches was more than double (about 230 percent) the seasonal average of 11.32 inches, smashing the prior summer season record high rainfall of 18.86 inches set in 1981 (records began at Caribou in 1939). Some locations north of Caribou received over 30 inches of rainfall this summer. Bangor`s lesser total of 13.22 inches was about 130 percent of the seasonal average, ranking 9th since records began there in December 1925.