Thursday January 31, 2013 | 04:44 AM
Posted by David Epstein

Howling winds kept temperatures at spring-like levels all night.   Portland and most of Maine have seen temperatures in the 50s since late yesterday afternoon.  Last night, I was able to turn off the heat and sleep with the windows wide open.   This extreme weather in January gets all sorts of mixed reactions for sure, I personally love the break. I actually left several of my plants that were struggling through winter inside on the deck all night and they seem a bit happier this morning. 

I'll be updating the forecast on Twitter. You can follow me on there at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

Unfortunately, for snow enthusiasts, this warmth has done some damage to local ski areas. I would also check the ice carefully before venturing out today.  There is much colder weather on the way and the ice will have a chance to freeze solid again over the weekend.  

Heavy rain will move through the region this morning. Already some areas have seen an inch of water. I don't expect any severe weather embedded in the showers although the timing will certainly slow down the morning commute a bit. Sunshine returns this afternoon as temperatures fall back through the 40s. A strong cold front is crossing the region this morning and will usher back winter temperatures for tonight. It  will be warmest before noon today as temperatures fall back to the upper 20s by dark across the foothills and mountains to near freezing at the coast.  The record in Portland today is 54F set in 1988. There is an outside chance that this record could be broken this morning before the colder air arrives.
 
Starting tonight, seasonable cold weather will refreeze the mud on the top of the ground and allow ski areas to make snow.  The snow loss overnight was dramatic in some places and many areas up the coast throughout Maine have bare ground as we close out January.
We do have the chance for some snow here part of Sunday and again Monday or Monday night. Right now, neither of those opportunities looks to be significant.  For skier, there will be snow showers in the mountains the next few days and some accumulation will help to freshen up surfaces. While colder weather will certainly be here much of this weekend and next week, I don't see anything as dramatic as the recent cold and there are signs of even less cold as we head into the second week of February.  So far, while this winter is not as mild as the last, it's proving to be quite tame by Maine standards.
 
Gardening
This week I am putting up a video on how to build the perfect container.  While you might not be thinking of gardening this week, you can plant pansies in 8 weeks and if you have protective covering some vegetables can be planted in another 5 weeks.  More on how I do that in upcoming blogs.  

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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