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The Memorial Day Severe Weather Situation

| May 30, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY STORMS from WAGM-TV on Vimeo.

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Tornadoes in Northern Maine don’t occur very often, with Aroostook County averaging around 1-3 tornadoes a year.

“They are weak in nature number one, and they don’t last long. Due to our topography here in Maine, they skip. They touch down, they go back up. So by the time they actually take off, they are pretty much exhausted,” says Lead Forecaster at the National Weather Service in Caribou,” Joseph Hewitt.

The Morning of Memorial Day, skies cleared which allowed temperatures to warm more than originally predicted. This set the stage for thunderstorm formation. The storms produced heavy rain, wind, hail, and a weak tornado.

“The first warning went out just north of Mars Hill, actually it was south of Presque Isle, east of Presque Isle into Fort Fairfield. We had reports of up to half dollar size hail with that first one, and then we were off to the races so to speak. Storms just kept developing,” says Hewitt.

Lots of warnings were issued Monday to warn the public. Darren Woods of the Aroostook Emergency Management Agency says they worked well with the National Weather Service. He said when a warning gets issued or prior to the warning, the NWS will contact the EMA.

“Typically because we are also in caribou. We’ll go right up to the weather service, they’ll give us a full briefing on what they’re seeing. Based on that, we’ll put out a notice to our local emergency managers, and kind of work with the national weather service to get information back to them,” says Woods.

Both Woods and Hewitt said that Facebook helped them a lot. The public’s reports are very helpful in knowing what exactly in happening on the ground.The National Weather Service has confirmed a weak EF0 tornado in the town of Ludlow, and another report of a touchdown west of Houlton down through Haynesville, but that one has not been confirmed yet.

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