The coldest temperature ever recorded in Maine, a frigid 50 degrees below zero, was reached when a blast of Arctic air hit New England last month. The record is tied with a thermometer reading from 1933 in Bloomfield, Vermont for the coldest recorded temperature in New England history.
“It’s a big wow,” said Tony Sturey, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Caribou, Maine. “It’s an incredible number, an insanely cold number.”
In January 1971, the country's lowest temperature ever recorded, 80 degrees below zero, was reached in Alaska. The lowest temperature on record in the continental US is 70 degrees below zero, measured in January 1954 in Montana. Maine's previous record of 48 degrees below was measured in 1925, also in mid-January.
January was a colder month than usual in many parts of Maine and New England. The record-breaking temperature was recorded the morning of January 16, after a mass of Arctic air plunged into Alaska and northern Canada, and traveled eastward into New England.
The northern regions of Maine are well-adapted to cold temperatures, said Steven R. Buck, the city manager for Caribou, Maine, a town of about 8,000 near the Big Black River, where the temperature was recorded. “It’s not that much out of the realm of normal for us.”
No matter how predictable, cold temperatures still come with a price. “When we see noontime highs of 10 or 15 below zero, that really takes a toll on the heating bill,” Buck said.