Winter-weary Mainers emerged from their slumber Saturday to record high temperatures in the Portland area. And many decided to make the most of the warm, sunny weather before a cold front was expected to move in overnight, ushering in more rain.

Adam Wilner, 31, and Marissa Zoletti, 32, marveled at the mild air as they walked off their breakfast on the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland. The couple recently moved here from Boston and were warned about Maine’s harsh winters.

“We actually just moved to Maine and heard a lot about how cold it is, so this is really great,” Zoletti said. “We were not expecting it, so we took the opportunity to spend some time outside.”

The temperature in Portland set a new record high of 63 degrees on Saturday afternoon, thawing out the area just before an expected icy weekend storm hits Maine.

The previous record high for Jan. 11 – 54 degrees in 2017 – was toppled around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The warm weather won’t last long.

After midnight Saturday, a cold front is forecast to pass through central and, later, southern Maine. The cold will arrive later in the Portland area, with temperatures dipping below freezing Sunday evening.

Precipitation is also forecast for Sunday. Because temperatures will take longer to fall in southern Maine, Portland should expect mostly rain. But in Bangor, the cold snap will produce snow, sleet and freezing rain.

People in Portland were making the most of the warm weather on Saturday afternoon. The Eastern Promenade Trail was buzzing with activity. Runners sped by wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts, while others took a more leisurely stroll.

The East End Beach was awash in unleashed dogs and their owners, even though both had to navigate a slushy pathway to reach the sandy shoreline.

Sara Brooke, 30, and Tim Fulwider, 29, said they had just spent an hour and half at the beach, while their doodle, Bowie, frolicked in the sand and salt water.

“It’s pretty weird,” Brooke said. “It’s unexpected for January. I’m not going to lie, though, it’s pretty nice. It’s nice to get some sun on the face.”

Fulwider said he had mixed feelings about the unseasonably warm air.

“It’s nice to get a little break” from the cold, he said. “But I have wanted to go ice skating lately and every weekend it seems like it’s pretty warm – too warm for ice.”

Jeri Studebaker, 71, said she was enjoying the weather, but not fully, since she worried about climate change.

“It’s bothersome to me, because 95 percent of the world’s scientists are saying we’re in trouble because of the climate changing and becoming more chaotic,” Studebaker said. “And it’s going to get worse.”

But she and her lab mix, Douglas, couldn’t help but bask in the sun and warm air.

“I am enjoying it – there’s no denying that,” she said. “And he’s having a blast.”

This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. January 13 to correct the record high temperature set in Portland on Saturday.


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