PORTLAND – Doug Roy would rather be ice skating on the pond at Deering Oaks, enjoying the last part of what he hoped would be a long, snowy winter.

Instead, he’s shooting hoops on the park’s basketball courts, dressed in shorts and a baggy gray sweat shirt. There are ducks, not ice, on the pond, and the ground is bare. It’s 45 degrees.

“Some people love this. They don’t want the cold, they don’t want the snow,” the 27-year-old waiter from Portland said Friday afternoon. “For me, this just isn’t what you want from a Maine winter.”

Portland’s average temperature in February – 30.8 degrees – was 6 degrees warmer than normal. The warm trend has carried into March, and the high today could reach 50 degrees.

Just over 3 feet of snow – 37 inches – has been recorded in Portland this winter, less than half of the 79 inches the city had received by this date last year.

Unless storms hit southern Maine in the next few weeks, this could be the winter with the least snow in the past 30 years. Portland got 35 inches in the winter of 1979-80, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. The next-lowest figure was 45 inches, recorded in 2003-04.

While warm temperatures and the lack of snow have defined the season in Maine, the mid-Atlantic states have been hammered. Baltimore, for example, has recorded more than 80 inches of snow.

Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the weather pattern has been highly unusual.

“The jet stream has been very far south this year, delivering the cold air from the Midwest into the South. The snowfall to our south has been incredible,” Hayes said. “We saw this trend starting to develop in December. It kept up right into January and February.”

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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