After a snowstorm surprised Mainers in late October, many started digging out the winter coats, boots and gloves.

This month’s weather had them hauling the summer clothes back out of storage.

The month is on track to be the warmest November on record in Portland, with an average daily temperature of 44.2 degrees through Monday. That’s 4.4 degrees above normal and easily surpasses the previous high of 43.8 degrees, set five years ago, according to the National Weather Service.

The average daily temperature is derived by taking hourly readings and dividing by 24.

Temperatures dipped a few degrees below normal during a couple of short cold streaks this month, but those streaks were eclipsed by days that were much warmer than the norm.

For instance, the high of 65 degrees Nov. 14, with a low of 50, put that day’s average 18 degrees above normal for the date. Monday’s high of 63 and low of 44 produced an average temperature 19 degrees above normal for late November.

The golfers are loving it. The course at the Purpoodock Country Club is still open, well past its typical mid-November closing date, said Robyn Violette, the clubhouse manager.

“Golf is a hard-core sport,” she said. “If the greens are available, (golfers) are going to be out there playing.”

Several dozen golfers went out Tuesday, and the course was busy last weekend, Violette said. Meanwhile, the greenskeeper is putting plans to button up the course for the winter on hold.

The pro shop closed on schedule Nov. 15, and the club has set Dec. 8 as the date for members to put away the clubs for the year – probably.

If temperatures stay in the 50s, Violette said, the club will likely let members head out. The staff “wants to make it as long a season as possible,” she said.

About 90 miles away, other implications of the warmth are evident on the slopes at the Sunday River ski area in Newry.

Last week’s coastal rain was snow in the mountains. But warm nighttime temperatures have prevented the resort from firing up the snow guns, said spokeswoman Darcy Morse.

Eleven of the resort’s 132 trails are open and drawing skiers, but there aren’t many takers so far, she said.

Morse said the adage that a skier needs to see snow in the backyard before he or she thinks about hitting the slopes still holds true.

“It always helps when there’s snow on the ground and people are removing it from their car or getting it out of their driveway,” she said. Temperatures are expected to dip enough by the end of this week to let Sunday River start making snow again.

The warm weather is making November an easy month, financially, for homeowners. Many didn’t need to call the plow guy for the snow in October, and the warm temperatures have kept furnaces from running so much.

“It’s a lot less hectic” for Downeast Energy, said Doug Morrell, the company’s vice president of energy, who’s in charge of making sure that customers with automatic oil delivery don’t run dry.

Morrell said the company keeps track of degree days and customers’ past oil use to determine when it’s time for fill-ups. Degree days are a measure of heating need, calculated by subtracting a day’s average temperature from 65, which is essentially the neutral temperature for heating a house.

Downeast has a degree days-per-gallon figure for each customer, Morrell said, and those degree days aren’t adding up this year.

The National Weather Service said the Portland area has had 1,097 degree days since July 1. That’s 334 degree days – about 25 percent – below normal. Through Monday, there were 573 degree days in November, 134 below normal.

For Downeast Energy, “It’s not as busy when it’s warm,” Morrell said, “but it can change in a hurry.”

Janis Beitzer is hoping for cooler temperatures, but nothing drastic.

“We want a little snow and cooler, but not too cold,” said Beitzer, who heads Portland’s Downtown District. “We’re fussy.” Beitzer said that rain, lots of snow or bitter cold discourage shopping, and that Thanksgiving weekend’s near-balmy conditions led to “a banner week for downtown.”

Beitzer is hoping for a repeat this weekend, when downtown retailers will donate a portion of their profits during the Shop for a Cause event. After that, the flakes and cold can arrive to provide atmosphere for the rest of the holiday season.

The warm November is part of a generally warm year, but 2011 won’t be a record-breaker, officials say.

That was 2010, which had an average daily temperature of 49.2 degrees, the warmest in 71 years of record-keeping at the Portland International Jetport. So far, 2011 is averaging 48.8 degrees.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]