When I was a kid...
By Charlie Lopresti

My name is Charlie Lopresti.   I’m Chief Meteorologist at CBS 13 in Portland Maine. Thanks to the folks at ski NH for asking me to guest blog this week.  The Whites have a special place in my, and family’s heart. I’m a Plymouth Stater, and Mount Washington Observatory alum.  I enjoy backpacking, skiing, and drinking beer at the Moat.   It’s rare you’ll find me skiing the headwall these days, but more likely trying to catch my fearless kids at the resorts, or waiting in line at Story Land. 

The older I get, the more I catch myself saying "When I was a kid...." and it's usually a point I'm trying to make to my own kids.  After all, I did walk up hill and barefoot both ways to school.  These days, in my professional world, I'm surrounded by "I remember when I was a kid" quotes pertaining to weather.  I love it because I get to hear interesting stories from memorable storms or intense winters I might not have experienced.   For some reason we all gravitate to the most impressive snowfall winters occurring when we were little.  And why not, we've had some big winters over the years including extreme cold and snow.  As a kid those are memories that stick with you for life, but how accurate are our weather memories in comparison to our adult life?   The data would suggest, not very.   In recent years, New England has had some of the snowiest winters on record, and even some of the coldest.

Last winter was historical from many different angles.  Starting in late January, the weather was the topic that everyone was talking about.  Here are some of the interesting temperature stats for Portland Maine.

Coldest February- Portland had the coldest February on record in 2015. Those records go back to 1941 at the Portland Jetport. Concord NH missed the coldest on record by only 0.1 degree (that data set is larger though)

Prior to 1941, records were kept at a different location in the city and the gold standard for coldest winters has always been 1934. To my knowledge that was the last time people could walk from Portland to Peaks Island on sea ice.

So I looked up 1934 and it turns out this Feb. 2015 was 0.1° colder. If it's going to be that cold, at least we had bragging rights.

Not only was it the coldest February on record, but we also tied Jan 1981 for the 2nd coldest month on record.

It's not just last winter either.  March 2014 was the 4th coldest on record for Portland and the winter 2013/2014 was 22nd coldest overall.

It was only 6 years ago Maine recorded the coldest temperature on record of -50° at Big Black River. I remember the morning of Jan 16th 2009 well. It was the coldest temperature I experience (not living on Mount Washington) with a low of -26.5 in my back yard.

In part two of my blog we'll look at some snow fall stats.
Click here to read part 2.