PORTLAND – The ornamental pear trees were in full bloom Wednesday, but there was no seasonal joy on Spring Street.

Carol Sutton and her best friend, Madeleine Sharp, stood in the rain, shielding themselves with purple and yellow umbrellas. The vacationers from New Jersey looked down Center Street toward the harbor, where they had hoped to see gliding boats, gulls and sparkling blue water this week.

Instead, they saw a gray waterfront suffocated by dense fog, which settled over the region several days ago and doesn’t seem willing to budge.

“It’s kind of discouraging,” said Sutton, who arrived Saturday and will return home with her friend today without enjoying a single sunny day.

“Of course we would have loved 70 degrees and sunshine, but you can’t control Mother Nature and we’re trying to roll with it. We’ve done a lot of inside things, restaurants and shopping. It’s been a different kind of beautiful,” Sutton said.

About 2 inches of rain have fallen in Portland since last weekend, and more is expected over the next few days.

Forecasters are predicting lower-than-average temperatures, clouds and a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of rain into Saturday, when the chance of rain drops to 30 percent.

“The drizzle is going to continue. We’ll probably see some breaks and some sun this weekend, so it is going to get better,” said Stacie Hanes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

The 2.19 inches of rain so far this month in Portland is right on par with the normal amount for this point in May. It just feels like more because it has come all at once, Hanes said.

Rusty Whitten, who has poured foundations for 40 years, said he expects strange weather patterns and makes sure he has other types of work to keep himself and his sons busy.

“I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” the Saco contractor said.

Wednesday was mostly ugly, as Whitten spun the tires of his Ford pickup in the thick mud of a driveway off Highland Avenue. He and his sons were setting the foundation forms for a new house. The muddy hole was filled with standing water. Whitten said the weather has slowed work this week, but this particular site has good drainage, allowing them to push forward.

He recalled one year when it rained almost every day for the month of June, and another that brought rain on nine consecutive weekends.

“You’ve got to be versatile and work with the elements,” Whitten said.

In Scarborough, landscaper Curtis Dulac agreed. On Wednesday afternoon, he knelt in the mulch of a flower garden at the end of a cul-de-sac lined with stately homes and neatly manicured lawns.

“When the grass is wet you can’t really do any mowing at all, so you have to do other things where you can, like mulching, weeding, odd jobs,” said Dulac, a 21-year-old Cape Elizabeth native.

“While it’s like this, until Saturday at least, it’ll be hard to do much,” he said. “We get behind, customers really don’t like it, but there’s not much you can do.”

But Dulac is looking forward to the bright side. When the sun returns for a solid period of time – next week,he hopes – lawns and gardens will enter a period of explosive growth, he said.

“Everything will be growing like crazy, and that’s good for business,” he said. 

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

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