Winter lingers in New England and so will the mud

2017-04-30 09:00
A motorist in the American state of Maine drives on the wrong side of the road to avoid a large puddle. (Robert F Bukaty, AP)

A motorist in the American state of Maine drives on the wrong side of the road to avoid a large puddle. (Robert F Bukaty, AP)

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New Gloucester - Spring is in the air. But mud is on the ground and will be for a while.

Mud season is an annual mucky rite of passage in the lives of northern New Englanders in the American state of Maine. This year, it's gloppier than usual in places and hanging around longer.

Even Acadia National Park in Maine had to close its famed carriage roads this season because of the mud, disappointing park visitors. The roads re-opened last week but remained closed to horses because of the soft surface.

Mud season sets in when snow smelts, ground softens and spring rains come. Parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont had a snowier winter than usual, followed by a wetter-than-average spring, making for a longer lasting muddier mess.

Damage trails

Mud season is normally over by April, but forecasters say it could stick around until early May.

"Generally we would be done by now, but we're still having rain and snow events," said Victor Nouhan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine.

Caribou got nearly 317cm of snow this winter, 38cm more than the average.  Rainfall has also been heavy. Portland has had more than 381mm of rain since January 1 and averages less than 356mm in that time.

The muddy late April means all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts who maintain about 11 300km of trails in Maine are hard at work keeping people off the paths, said Real Deschaine, president of ATV Maine. ATV use during mud season can damage trails.

"There's always somebody trying to find some muddy holes," Deschaine said.


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