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Beckett Gardner, 2, of Portland, smiles in the arms of his father, Nate, at Lib鈥檚 Dairy Treats in Portland on Saturday. The ice cream stand officially opens March 9, but it was open for a 鈥減op-up鈥 day Saturday during unseasonably warm weather. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Under sunny skies and warm temperatures that melted what snow was on the ground Saturday in southern Maine, motorists drove with their windows down. Car washes everywhere were slammed. Visitors strolled in parks. Motorcycles and bicycles were out in force as if it were May.

The National Weather Service office in Gray reported that the temperature climbed to 54 degrees at the Portland International Jetport 鈥 exactly 20 degrees above the historical average for Feb. 10.

Saturday鈥檚 weather broke the Feb. 10 high-temperature record of 52 degrees in 1955. Warm weather also broke records in Augusta and Concord, New Hampshire.

Augusta鈥檚 high on Saturday was 52 degrees, beating the old record of 50 degrees in 2023, and in Concord, the high rose to 60 degrees, breaking the old record of 1955, weather service meteorologist Greg Cornwell said.

Rhonda and John Cook took time to have fun in the sun on an extremely warm February afternoon.

He was eating an ice cream cone, she an ice cream sandwich, at Lib鈥檚 Dairy Treats on Auburn Street in Portland. Lib鈥檚 was open for a special 鈥減op-up鈥 day. The couple, who live in Buxton, brought their children and 2-year-old grandson for ice cream.

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鈥淚t feels great to have a warm day in the middle of the winter,鈥 Rhonda Cook said, standing in the sun. Normally at this time of year, 鈥渨e鈥檇 be home, hunkered down. My husband saw this place was going to be open today, so we made a special trip. We went to Fort Williams, then came here.鈥

Their visit to Fort Williams 鈥渨as beautiful,鈥 John Cook said, adding that he didn鈥檛 even need a jacket. The park was busy, he said. Their daughter-in-law, Lexi Cook, who lives in New Hampshire, said she was loving the weather. 鈥淚 just want to move up to Maine,鈥 she said.

Cheryl Skillin, of Poland ,smiles before digging into her ice cream on Saturday at Lib鈥檚 Dairy Treats. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

The ice cream stand鈥檚 parking lot was full of vehicles, with a line of customers at the window.

Among those were Gloria Nappi, of Portland, and her daughter, Joanna Huntington, of Windham, eager for a hot fudge sundae.

鈥淚鈥檓 spending the day with my mother on this beautiful day,鈥 Huntington said, both women smiling. 鈥淲e just went to Harmon鈥檚 and had a burger outside.鈥 There were a lot of people outside dining by their cars, she said.

Lib鈥檚 owner Tim Pawloski said March 9 will be the stand鈥檚 opening day.

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鈥淯sually we do two (days) in January and two in February,鈥 he said as one of his workers handed over a vanilla cone covered with sprinkles. It鈥檚 unusual, he said, to see so many people in line for ice cream for a winter pop-up day. 鈥淭his is pretty much what we do on a sunny July day.鈥

Ben Sargent, of Portland, tosses a Frisbee at Payson Park on Saturday. Traditional winter winter is expected to return early next week. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Several customers said they weren鈥檛 overly concerned with the role of climate change in the warm February weather 鈥 they were just enjoying the warmth.

鈥淚t鈥檚 Maine,鈥 said Victor Rios, of Portland, who was tailgating with his daughter. 鈥淚 grew up here. In Maine, there will be a day or two of warm weather in winter. Then in April, a snowstorm will hit,鈥 he said. He looked down at his daughter eating ice cream. 鈥淪he loves it.鈥

Extreme weather made more frequent and ferocious by climate change has walloped Maine in the last year 鈥 most recently in the form of two storms that hit the coast on Jan. 10 and 13, and the Dec. 18 storm that wreaked at least $20 million in damage to 10 Maine counties.

Over the last century, Maine sea levels have been rising at a rate of about a half-foot a century. The pace has sped up as the world burns more fossil fuels, producing heat-trapping emissions that warm both air and sea. About half of our sea rise over the last century has occurred since the early 1990s.

Maine sea levels are projected to rise between 1.1 and 3.2 feet by 2050 and 3 and 9.3 feet by 2100, depending on how successful and quick we are at curbing global emissions rates, according to the scientists who advise the Maine Climate Council.

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On Saturday, Courtney Dube, of Portland, was with her young daughter at a playground on Stevens Avenue.

鈥淒o we love the weather today?鈥 Dube asked her daughter, who nodded enthusiastically.

While her younger daughter was at the playground, another daughter was skiing. Dube was told that the skiing conditions were great but acknowledged that Saturday鈥檚 weather was unusual. 鈥淲e do miss snow because we like snow activities,鈥 she said. 鈥淏ut we鈥檙e embracing this warm day.鈥

Lumen Menzie, 2, of Kennebunk, walks through puddles on Saturday at Back Cove in Portland. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Because of climate change, Maine鈥檚 winters are becoming warmer and shorter, and the state continues to warm faster than the global average,

In fact, Maine winters are warming faster than any other season, state data shows. River and lake ice are thinner, making ice fishing and other activities more dangerous. Less snow and more winter rain caused by warmer temperatures are making snowmobiling and skiing seasons shorter. As the state continues to warm, climate change will affect the ecosystems and way of life in all regions.

In Sidney on Saturday, where the temperature rose to nearly 50 degrees, the second day of the Maine Pond Hockey Classic was held on Messalonskee Lake, tournament director Patrick Guerette said.

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With many teams in different age groups, the hockey classic benefits the Alfond Youth and Community Center in Waterville. More hockey on the lake is scheduled for Sunday, the last day of the annual event, Guerette said. Temperatures in Sidney are expected to dip to freezing early Sunday, then enter the mid-40s later that day.

For much of coastal and interior Maine, Sunday won鈥檛 be as warm as Saturday, according to Cornwell of the weather service, but temperatures will be above normal, in the 40s for much of Maine.

Traditional winter weather could return late Monday into Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to get into the 30s, with snow arriving. The forecast calls for 4 to 6 inches of snow by the end of Tuesday.

Ryan Miller, of Kennebunk, center, returns a shot while backed up by teammate Evan Riley, of Scarborough, as they play volleyball at Deering Oaks Park on Saturday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Staff Writer Penelope Overton contributed to this report.

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