One Two Punch…Snow?? 11/12/18

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their long holiday weekend! After a stormy Friday night, the weather turned very Novemberish over the weekend. Saturday began with chilly, damp weather, only to turn blustery and cold by days end. Sunday featured ample sunshine, but temperatures felt more like mid December, rather than mid November. Wind chills were holding in the 20’s and 30’s across the region.

It’s the tale of two regions. While people here in southern New England were raking leaves on Sunday, folks up north and across the interior were either heading to the ski slopes, or shoveling snow!  While the storm last Friday night brought a cold rain for us down here in the Boston area, it brought a heavy wet snowfall to ski resorts and even some lower elevations with between 2 and 10″ of heavy wet snow, depending on elevation.

It’s no wonder some ski resorts have been open (with limited service) since before Halloween! I believe this was the second or third storm to bring accumulating snow to ski country this autumn. And they’re not done yet! Yet a third, and then a fourth snowstorm is on the way this week!  Over the years, I can recall several early starts to winter, with heavy snows the following winter.

The first year was November 1995. This is going back away, but I remember several heavy snowstorms hitting ski country that year similar to this year, late October and into November. The following winter featured Boston’s record breaking snow season, which stood until the historic winter of 2014-15.

The second was November, of 2002. This year is also one of my analog years for this upcoming winter. That November featured consistently cold temperatures, which allowed snow making to commence on November 1st. I remember attending the Southern New England Weather Conference that year at Wachusett Mountain ski resort in Princeton, Ma. held on November 1st. It was a very cold day, with high temperatures barely making it to freezing. It was so cold, that the ski resort fired up the snow making equipment for a first hand demonstration at how snow making works! Needless to say, winter 2002-03 was quite a winter! After one of the warmest and driest winter’s on record the year before, that winter turned out to be one of the coldest and snowiest on record in Boston!

Another November which featured colder than normal temperatures was November 2004. While most of the country experienced a blow torch, New England saw colder than normal temperatures, and a couple snowstorms even right into the city of Boston. The following winter was very warm across much of the country, except here in New England! Boston saw a whopping 86″ of snowfall that winter! Many on the Cape would remember that year, when the Great Blizzard of ’05 hit on January 22nd. This was a true blizzard, with up to 40″ of snow falling on the Cape whipped by hurricane force winds and drifts of up to 10 ft!

Another year similar to this one was November 2014. This happens to also be one of my analog years for this upcoming winter.  November 2014 featured a couple early season snowstorms striking before Thanksgiving, allowing ski country to open early. I remember going up to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving that year looking as if it were Christmas, with 7″ of heavy wet snow pasted on all the trees. After a quite a mild December, and many declaring winter over, winter came roaring back with a vengeance in late January, and of course featured the epic snow blitz of all snow blitzes in February of 2015.

Does anyone see a pattern here? If you said there looks like a link between early starts to winter in November and the following winter patterns, you’re correct! What makes 1995-96 such a anomaly was that it occurred during a La Nina year (cold water in the Pacific Ocean). Typically, La Nina years feature below average snowfall in Boston, with variable conditions during winter, leaning more mild than cold.

However, there have been notable exceptions! In fact, the past two winters featured La Nina conditions, yet Boston featured above average snowfall in both these years. The winter two years ago 2016-17 featured many interior storms, with Boston being right on the edge. That year Boston finished with 46.6″ of snow, which is a couple inches above the seasonal average of 44.”

Interesting to note, that November featured temperatures a little over 2 degrees above the average. This went against my theory of a warm November, below average snow. However, it was still withing the plus 2 / minus 2 degrees of neutral. It’s when temperatures average plus 3 or plus 4 degrees above average for November that we typically see below average snow the following winter.

How about last year? Records show November temperatures finishing 1 degree below the monthly average. This pushed the heavy snow closer to the coast, giving Boston 59.9″ for the season. If you recall, my forecast for Boston last winter called for between 60 and 70″ of snow. Many interior locations and up in ski country enjoyed a fabulous ski season with the exception of the very warm February, when many experienced a meltdown. Winter came back strong in March and even April, extending the ski season well into the spring.

While La Nina’s are typically very good for ski country as far as snowfall goes, the same can be said for coastal New England when weak, central based El Nino’s are predicted. Central based El Nino’s is when the ocean temperatures in the central Pacific become warmer than average. How warm they become has a profound impact on how severe our winter turns out. Winter 2002-03 and 2014-15 featured weak, central based El Nino’s. This year,  current projections are also calling for a weak to perhaps moderate central based El Nino maintaining itself throughout winter 2018-19. Other global factors such as a persistent warm pool of water in the Gulf of Alaska, will be contributing to this years winter pattern across the eastern part of the United Sates.

The main point that I’m trying to make is that Mother Nature is in charge! There were many years when computer models were saying cold is coming for November, only to have it turn into a very warm month. Some examples of this in recent years were November of 2001, 2006, 2009, 2011 (yuck!), and 2015! All featured temperatures averaging plus 4 degrees for the month, with much less than normal snow the following winter.

This year, computer models are trying to send a blow torch (very warm) into New England for Thanksgiving week. However, after carefully looking over all of the data this morning, I can possibly see the exact opposite occurring, with a deep trough of low pressure (cold & sometimes stormy) moving in around Thanksgiving. If this is true, we could be looking at a very cold Thanksgiving this year. This cold pattern could persist for the rest of November, which would have major implications on my winter forecast! By the way, my official winter forecast will be published just one week from today! I’m sure you can get a good idea at what my thoughts are with the analog years I have mentioned already!

Before I get to my forecast, I just wanted to take a moment to review our fall foliage season. Overall, I would give it a 7 out of 10! Not bad, considering where we started out from! After being green for nearly the entire fall, peak foliage came sweeping into Boston with a flare of color not seen in years around here! Had it not been the frosty mornings of late October, we could of been looking at a similar situation as last year, when leaves just turned brown and fell off. The rating would of been higher, had it not been for the untimely rain and windstorms which stripped the trees of their beautiful leaves prematurely, giving us only a few days to enjoy the brilliant burst of fall color. But what a show it was!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Two more rainstorms / snowstorm? And unseasonably cold air! Watch for increasing high clouds for the rest of today. It will be chilly, with highs in the middle to upper 40’s.

Tonight will feature thickening clouds. A freshening east wind will hold temperatures in the 40’s. Rain will overspread the region late at night from southwest to northeast.

Expect stormy conditions for Tuesday. A strong storm will be developing and moving up the coast. Current projections show this storm tracking across southeastern Massachusetts. This would place the Cape in the warm sector of the storm, with strong southerly winds, and temperatures spiking to near 60. Similar projections were made for last Friday night, however the storm tracked 50 miles further east, keeping most of the region in the cold sector of the storm, with northeast winds. Regardless, torrential rain will make travel difficult anywhere from 9 am to 2 pm across the Boston area. If the center of the low passes east of Boston, temperatures may not warm too much above 50. Rain will begin to taper off after 3 pm, and be over by 6 pm.

If you live or are planning on traveling up to northern New England, expect a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain in lower elevations, and heavy wet snow in elevations above 2000 ft. with difficult travel conditions. This storm is going to be mainly rain for the seacoast region of New Hampshire, and much of the Maine coast, within 10 miles of the ocean. Be aware, inland will be a different story, with treacherous travel conditions.

As the storm moves north of our latitude tomorrow evening, a gusty west wind will usher in the coldest air of the season! Expect winter cold tomorrow night, with flash freezes possible up in northern New England. Temperatures are going to plummet into the upper teens and mid to upper twenties region wide.

Look for bright but ineffective sunshine on Wednesday, along with a gusty wind. Look for temperatures to struggle into the 30’s, for high temperatures! Wednesday night will feature clear and very cold temperatures for this time of the year. In fact, some locations may have record cold lows! This would mean lower teens to low 20’s. Wow!

Watch for a sunny but very cold start to Thursday. As the day progresses, look for increasing high clouds with a decidedly wintry look to the sky by days end. It’s going to look and feel like snow, as high temperatures will only reach the upper 30’s and lower 40’s.

Yet another storm threatens later Thursday night into Friday. With colder air established, this storm has the potential to bring us our first shot of wintry precipitation across southern New England. Not only that, but this storm has the potential to be a significant winter storm to a large part of New England. A never ending parade of storms in the southern jet stream is going to begin to track up the coast later Thursday night.

If this storm tracks south and east of New England, many interior locations, including here in southern New England, could be looking at an early season winter storm. At this early juncture, I would say areas north and west of I495 have the best chance at seeing accumulating snowfall, sleet and freezing rain. Locations to the west and north of Boston between Rt 128 and I495 could also see a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain, which may or may not change to rain. Even inside of Rt 128 close to Boston may indeed see their first wintry precipitation of the season. This is a very changeable situation. I can see this storm trending colder towards the coast, bringing more of a wintry scenario into the city as well.

As far as accumulations go, at this early juncture, I can see interior locations receiving 6 plus inches of snow. With sleet and freezing rain mixed in, this could make for a dangerous situation on Friday. It’s too early to tell along the coast, though I do see at least a 50% chance for seeing some snow. I will monitor the situation closely throughout the week, and begin my Facebook updates as conditions warrant!

After this storm pulls away, expect cold but mainly dry conditions for the balance of the weekend. As mentioned earlier, the early outlook for Thanksgiving week is for mainly dry but cold weather. Of course, I will be updating this forecast come next Monday.

Well, that’s about it for now! Next week’s blog will feature the winter forecast for 2018-19! You won’t want to miss it! I will also have your Thanksgiving travel forecast, and also begin your outdoor ski and snow mobile forecast! In the meantime, get ready for a one two punch from Mother Nature…with the second punch possibly packing more of a punch than the first!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

 

Farewell Fall…Winter Rapidly Approaching! 11/5/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! November began on the mild side last Thursday, with highs in the lower 60’s. Friday was warmer, even turning a bit muggy, with high temperatures close to 70! A strong early November storm arrived Friday night, tracking right across the Boston area, bringing with it torrential downpours, and a tropical feel to the air. A strong cold front blasted through the region on Saturday, bringing with it strong damaging westerly winds. Many locations saw winds gusting up to 60 mph during the afternoon, which toppled trees and power lines across the region…especially across eastern Massachusetts. The winds subsided Saturday night, as colder air rushed back into the region.

Sunday was an exquisite fall day behind the departing storm! Deep blue skies, light winds, and pleasant afternoon temperatures reminded us just how beautiful this time of the year can be! This too is short lived, as our next storm system is already rapidly approaching the region. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been having a very rainy autumn so far, and I see no signs of it letting up!

So it has been a wet fall around these parts. I’m not sure exactly where we stand as far as how much, but I believe I saw something like 4th wettest so far… and we still have the rest of November to add to these totals. So far, I don’t see too many folks complaining about all  the wet weather. Though there’s no “official” drought listed by the National Weather Service, I can tell you much of eastern Massachusetts is still catching up from a multi years drought where many communities had a close to a 3ft deficit!

Surprisingly, I have see more people complaining about the weather on Twitter than on Facebook.  I reality, we don’t have too much to complain about. We have had three glorious falls in a row, with endless sunny days, and unseasonably warm temperatures. This is coming off three beautiful summers in a row, culminating in this past summer, which featured the third hottest summer on record in Boston, which lingered right up until October 10th!

Since then, there has been a change. There has been a few warm spikes, but overall, the chill of autumn has settled in. After one of the warmest starts on record to October, the month actually ended up very close to normal. Could this be the beginning of a long, cold winter? Perhaps. But I’m not ready to pull the trigger on a severe winter us quite yet. I have been spending quite a bit of time researching, reading technical discussions, looking over the latest computer data, and keeping an eye on what Mother Nature is willing to show with natural signs. The results: Inconclusive at this time!

Folks who released their winter forecast back in October and early November may need to re evaluate their forecast. It’s possible that all the research they did back in the early fall is enough to determine the correct forecast. All the power to them! Perhaps their methods are different? I still believe that there are important pieces to evaluate during the pivotal month of November, that hold keys as to what the outcome of the winter will be.

My winter forecast will be published just two weeks from today!  While there are some indications of a rough winter coming, there are just as many conflicting indications that say no. This is when I pull out my secret signs in November to determine which direction to lean in! One of the indicators I use to determine how severe our winter is going to be, is to monitor average  temperatures here in November.

If you’re looking for a very snowy winter, you want to see a roller coaster temperature profile, with lots of rapid changes. At the end of the month, temperatures should come out as close to neutral as possible…plus or minus one degree is ideal. As an added bonus, the month should feature a good amount of precipitation, but not too wet or too dry. This shows that we are close to the jet stream and storm activity.

If you don’t like snow and you’re wishing for a mild winter, a consistent very warm or very cold pattern with little precipitation is not an indication of a snowy winter ahead. Back in November 2015 we averaged +4 degrees during November, and the winter followed suite with one of the warmest winters on record, with below average snow. In contrast, 1997 was a very cold November, with temperatures averaging -4 degrees, but the winter still turned out warm, with below average snow.

There are many other factors I look at in determining the winter forecast. In fact, there are 17 signs I monitor to process my calculation! Another sign I’m watching very carefully, and no doubt has an influence on our temperatures, is the strength and position of the developing El Nino (warm water off the South America coast). Out of all the signs, I believe the temperatures of the oceans have the most influence on our weather.

As a good rule of thumb, the weaker the El Nino is, the more severe our winters tend to be. The position of the El Nino also determines how cold or warm we become here in New England. Pacific central based El Nino’s tend to send much colder weather into the eastern United States, where east based El Nino’s, sloshed up against the western South American coast tend to pump warm air into New England during the fall and winter months.

Where do we stand right now? Earlier this fall, computer models were showing at most a weak central based El Nino was developing for the winter. It appeared as if a severe winter was a lock for eastern New England. However, my good friend, and Atmospheric Science major Remy Mermelstein from Cornell University posted a tweet this morning showing how El Nino has grown, and is now on the threshold of borderline moderate, and looks to have spread basin wide across the Pacific. This latest data has certainly given some pause in the preliminary winter forecast.

Nevertheless, many reliable seasonal long range computer models continue forecast a dangerous scenario for the eastern part of the United States and especially from say Washington D.C to Boston. When I do long range seasonal forecasts, I like to look at years with similar patterns, that may repeat themselves in one way or another. Nothing is ever exact, but we call these analogs. Some years showing up for this year are 1968-69, 1969-70, 1976-77, 1977-78 (wow)! 1986-87,  2002-03, 21009-10, and 2014-15 (oh boy)! All, with the exception of 1986-87 and 2009-10, were blockbuster winters here in eastern Massachusetts. One disclaimer, 1976-77 was brutally cold, but wasn’t overly snowy.

Here’s my final fall foliage report of the season. Wow…it only feels like it just began here in Boston! In many regards, this is true! We had such an exceptionally warm September, right up until October 10th. At that point, the pattern definitely turned decidedly cooler. Still, many leaves were remained mainly green around Boston waiting fore the first frost. It was during the third  week, is when the chilly nights with widespread frosts occurred across the area.

This finally prompted the leaves to begin to change. Typically, there is a burst of color about 10 days after a frost. The forecast I made for this to occur worked out perfectly! Judging by the photos I saw on social media, the colors exploded across the Boston area this past weekend, as peak fall foliage rapidly descended through the city! Unfortunately, the fierce wind storm we experienced on Saturday stripped the leaves prematurely. Nevertheless, there were many vivid reds, yellows and oranges remaining across the city for all to enjoy! I don’t see any extreme winds this week, but more rain will continue to strip the trees of their leaves.

Here in New England, we use the phrase it went from winter straight to summer quite a bit! In fact, this is what happened this past year, when winter lingered all the way through the end of April, then suddenly exploded in May! Could we say the same for fall going straight into winter? A early season cold snap is predicted by most computer models to press into the country starting later this week. this cold wave is then forecast to slowly ease east into New England. Once it arrives, it could stick around for about 10 days or so. However, there are also indications that the cold will ease the last 10 days of the month, leading to speculation as to what the average temperature will be at months end.

With the cold expected, it raises the question whether we may see some early season snowfall along the coastal plain. Right now, I would say it’s almost a lock the mountains and interior locations see accumulating snow sometime between the 12th and 15th of the month. While a bit more difficult, coastal locations may also experience their first snow of the season as well. I will monitor carefully throughout the week!

Now for your weekly outdoor activity autumn forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect gloomy conditions this afternoon. Rain will begin to spread into the region later on this afternoon, and continue periodically through the night. With northeast winds, temperatures will remain on the chilly side, with highs in the lower 50’s today, and mostly 40’s overnight.

Election Day will feature some damp weather early in the day.  A warm front may actually punch north of the Boston area, spiking temperatures up into the lower to mid 60’s! A strong cold front will be pressing into the region during the afternoon, which will bring widespread showers and possibly even some thunderstorms through the area. Voting early would be your best bet to avoid getting soaked! Expect similar weather tomorrow night, with showers and thunderstorms continuing. It may not be raining all the time, but when it does, have your umbrella!

As the front sweeps off the coast, expect cooler and drier weather for your Wednesday and Thursday, with highs in the 40’s and 50’s, and lows in the 20’s and 30’s region wide.

Yet another storm will threaten for Friday. If this storm passes southeast of New England, it actually may be cold enough to introduce the chance of wet snowfall for the higher terrain of New Hampshire, Vermont, and even western Massachusetts. Otherwise a cold rain can be expected across the coastal plain. Watch for clearing and colder weather to follow this weekend, with highs in the 40’s, and lows in the 20’s and low 30’s. As mentioned earlier, we may step this down further in a big way next week!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be discussing about the prospects of our first snow? I will also be monitoring November temperatures, and have another quick preview of our upcoming winter. In the meantime, keep the umbrella handy, and dust off the winter equipment just in case!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Giving thanks and remembering all who gave and service our country today!~

 

 

 

Must Have Been The Rainbows! 10/29/18

Hello! Congratulations to the 2018 World Series Champions Boston Red Sox!! Wow! What a team! Was it coach Belichick speaking before game one? Was it Larry Bird sitting in the stands in L.A.?

No! I believe it was when the double rainbows arched over Fenway Park at the beginning of both games in Boston!

Hard to believe, that a similar scenario occurred back in 2013, the last time the Red Sox won the World Series! Amazing!

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! The well advertised nor’easter blew through here on Saturday with a windswept soaking rain, power outages, and pockets of coastal flooding.

Northeast winds gusted up to 60 mph along the coast, with many locations receiving up to 2″ of rain. Up north, and in higher elevations of greater than 1500 ft, heavy wet snow fell. As luck would have it, some ski resorts actually opened for the season yesterday…the earliest on record!

If you traveled far enough north up into the interior of Maine, you would of run into snow, sleet and freezing rain falling. Mike Haggett of western Maine weather called it, “everything but the kitchen sink!” A very wintry scenario indeed!

For the first nor’easter of the season, I would say it was quite impressive! Could this storm be a indication of what to expect this upcoming winter?

Perhaps, but I’m not ready to make this commitment just yet! Should a storm like this repeat itself during November with a bit more cold air around, then that would be something that would catch my attention!

Speaking of November, we are now just three days away from the start of this transition month. Typically, November is Boston’s cloudiest month. You may also be surprised to learn that November is also Boston’s wettest month, on average. Many call it a gloomy month, with many days of damp, chilly weather.

However, this has not been the case the past several November’s. Abnormally warm ocean temperatures off our coast, has kept New England warmer and drier than normal deeper into November, than what one would normally expect.

What is a typical November like in New England? Typically, it gets colder and wetter. However, this can be quite variable from year to year. Boston normally receives about 4″ of precipitation during November.

I say precipitation, because in some years, this falls as snow! On average, Logan Airport receives about 1.5″ of snow. Not much, but every 5 years or so, the city can receive a significant snowstorm, with greater than 4″ of accumulation.

If you live across the interior, you can double this amount. Up in northern New England and the mountains, November is considered more of a winter month than anything else.

Cold and snow is not uncommon on a line north of Rutland, Vt., Concord N.H. To Portland, Maine. However, even here, year to year variability makes November challenging to forecast, and plan ahead.

Average high temperatures start out in the lower 50’s on the first, only to cool 10 degrees to the lower 40’s by months end. Low temperatures begin in the lower 40’s, and cool to the lower 30’s by the 30th.

This year is no exception. Many long range computer models are signaling warm weather to be the rule in November. This is in stark contrast as to what I had originally been thinking.

However, the devil is in the details. Computer models were also calling for a very warm October. While the first two weeks were very warm, the pattern has turned decidedly colder from mid month on.

While November may feature more variability, I can see similar patterns shaping up for November. However, with winter encroaching, the stakes become higher.

We will have periods of warm weather this month. However, I’m also expecting equal periods of cold weather. Overall, November should finish near to even slightly below average temperatures.

In addition, the month is looking more and more like a typical November around here, with stormy periods and plenty of precipitation. With cold air building in from Canada, I’m expecting our first snowstorm of the season sometime around Thanksgiving!

Before we get there, I have some good news! After another unsettled day today, the weather is going to become warmer this week! Is it possible we may see a touch of Indian Summer??

Yes!! I do believe we may even touch 70 degrees later this week! Since 90% have seen their first frost, I would consider this a touch of Indian Summer for sure!

I see many folks on Twitter saying how disappointing of a foliage season it has been this year. Folks, it’s not over yet! I was out west of Boston yesterday, and the foliage appears to be making one final push, as it closes in on the city.

As has been the case the past several years, the foliage has had to overcome a lot just to get to where it is today! Very warm overnight temperatures in September, and the start of October has delayed our foliage from peaking by at least a week to 10 days.

In addition, a fierce nor’easter on Saturday could not of come at the worse time! The storm produced winds of up to 60 mph and sheets of rain. This was not what we wanted right before peak colors. Not only did the winds strip trees of leaves, but it also mutes the colors for the leaves still on the leaves.

Now for the good news. The frosts we received last week, coupled with mild days ahead, may bring out one final burst of colors during the first week of November. Watch for the Sugar & Japanese Red Maples to make for a very colorful end of foliage season!

Now for your weekly outdoor activity autumn forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out 10. Expect a showery start to your Monday up until about midday. Thereafter, expect improving conditions this afternoon, with possibly some sunny breaks and temperatures warming up into the mid 50’s.

Tonight will feature some low clouds with patchy areas of fog. It won’t be that cold with low temperatures mainly in the 40’s in urban areas, and 30’s in the suburbs.

Tuesday should feature some early clouds, but the afternoon should see some sun breaking through. It will be somewhat on the chilly side, with highs near 50. Tomorrow night will be clear and on the chilly side, with lows in the 20’s and 30’s region wide.

The Red Sox Championship Parade is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 am, This is also Halloween! After a chilly start, look for milder weather to move into the region during the afternoon, with temperatures moving up to above normal levels, with highs in the lower 60’s.

It should be fair and mild for trick or treater’s, with lows only in the 50’s during the evening, dropping to the 40’s later on.

Thursday is looking like our shot at Indian Summer! Expect partly sunny weather with a warm wind. Afternoon temperatures should warm up to at least 70 degrees! Hello November!

A cold front will be slowly moving into the region on Friday. Watch for showers to develop and move into the region. It will still be warm and on the muggy side for November standards, with highs in the upper 60’s.

Showers should end later Friday night, but skies will remain cloudy. It will continue to be mild, with lows only dropping into the 40’s.

Saturday may start out with clouds, but should see increasing sunshine during the afternoon. It will be slightly cooler, with highs in the lower 60’s. Saturday night will be clear and chilly, with lows mainly in the 30’s and lower 40’s.

Sunday will be more like November, with partly sunny skies and a northwest wind. It will be on the chilly side, with highs back into the mid 50’s. Sunday night will be clear and on the cold side, with lows in the 20’s and low 30’s…first 32 degree reading at Logan?

Well that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be talking about our upcoming winter patterns. I will also have one more fall foliage report and your weekly forecast. In the meantime, keep an eye out for those rainbows…it does the Red Sox wonders!

Thanks for reading!

~Have a safe and Happy Halloween!~

Pete

 

 

Chilly Through Halloween…Storm Brewing? 10/22/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Other than a few brief showers on Saturday, the weekend was on the dry side. While Saturday featured mild temperatures after a chilly start, Sunday turned decidedly colder, with a brisk wind. Last night featured the first real freeze across the Boston area, with many communities falling at or just below freezing in Boston. In the suburbs, widespread 20’s were common. This ends the growing season for this year!

However, if you want to get technical, Boston’s Logan Airport officially did not drop to 32 degrees yet. Strange as it is, this is where the official temperature readings are for the entire city of Boston. As you can imagine, the weather varies quite a bit from right along the water to neighborhood’s 6 or 7 miles inland. This is why frost and freezes arrive earlier in some parts of the city than others. In fact, the freeze last night is just about when we should expect it to happen in Boston neighborhood’s. On average, Logan Airport does not reach 32 degrees until about November 4th.

A good plan would be to somehow develop a network of official weather observations from each neighborhood in the city, including rainfall, temperature and snowfall accumulation, and average the whole thing out to come up with a smoothed out average for the city as a whole, then compare it to the numbers at Logan Airport! I bet the it would remarkably different. I’m not saying to get rid of the official observation site, just to have two readings. One for Logan, and one for the city of Boston proper. If you want to take it a step further, you can compare the numbers from each site with each other, and Logan. I keep a journal of observations, and I can assure you the weather in West Roxbury, approximately 8 miles southwest from Logan Airport, is different. Not by much, but there is a notable difference.

This is what makes the weather so fascinating and changeable around here. The weather can be so different from one community to the next. No doubt, if you travel just 5 or 10 miles west from where I live, it’s colder in the winter with more snow, and hotter in the summer due to being further away from cooling sea breezes. Same holds true right up the coast through New Hampshire and Maine, within 5 miles of the ocean. The Cape has a different climate all together. With it essentially being a peninsula, storms are more severe, and winters are often milder due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s this same ocean that’s been keeping winter from arriving too early along coastal New England past several years. The Atlantic has been experiencing unusually warmer than normal sea surface temperatures the past 20 yeas or so. In recent years, these temperatures have actually increased. While this may protect us from cold and snow many times through December, we seemed to have been paying big time as we get deeper into the winter and spring. What happens is the as the cold air presses south, it begins to interact with the warm ocean temperatures, creating a volatile baroclinic zone (contrast between cold and warm air). It’s here where the cold air clashes with the warm ocean, giving fuel to our intense nor’easters.

Several friends have been asking me about what my thoughts are for this upcoming winter. They saw NOAA’s press release about them forecasting an overall mild winter coming up. While I do not like their presentation, overall, they did a pretty good job at the general trends last year. What I mean by that is something similar as to what I was talking about for averaging out Boston’s climate data. Nobody could of predicted the wild swings in temperature we experience last winter. However, when you averaged the winter out as a whole, the temperature profile they made last October matched up quite nicely with their forecast. The extremes make the averages. Forecasting snowfall and bitter cold temperatures that occurred was another story, these variables were not mentioned in their forecast.

They may say we don’t forecast snowstorms, and bitter cold temperatures. Then what kind of a winter forecast is it? Are you leaving the general public out there to guess where the coldest weather, and above average amounts of snow is going to fall? I have seen high school amateur meteorologists publish a more detailed forecast. This is not a forecast, but merely a percentage based trend on where they think it’s going.

My knock with NOAA is that they’re biased warm, siding with global warming. There’s nothing wrong with this thinking! NOAA employs some of the most intelligent scientists in the world! However, when you paint the map red (for above normal) just because that has been the trend in recent years, then you’re not doing the public justice.

They may be 100% correct…but I see a much different picture unfolding across New England this winter. My official winter forecast will not be published until November 19th, and there’s still quite a bit of work yet to be done, but at this early juncture, there are many signs pointing towards the worst winter here in eastern New England, since the devastating winter of 2014-15.

I do have sympathy for NOAA. They are a government agency that needs to get this forecast out to the public, in a timely manner. Unfortunately for them, the most pivotal month for forecasting the upcoming winter happens to be in November! I read their discussion, and they are confident that no other changes will be needed heading into the winter. I believe the exact opposite. My motto is, “what happens in November, the winter will remember.”

For instance, I’m watching El Nino (above average warm water in southern Pacific) very carefully. If El Nino becomes too strong, and the warm water stretches from South America to Australia, then it may indeed make for a warmer than normal winter. Warm water placement of the El Nino is a crucial link to the winter. A central based El Nino in the Pacific typically brings New England its harshest winters. Computer models have been flip flopping over this placement and strength for months. I believe the picture will become more clear as we head into November.

How’s our foliage season coming along? Well, it depends who you speak with, and where you go. I believe up north had a better than average season due to some frosts early in September. unfortunately, the same can not be said for here in southern New England. The very warm weather up until October 10th, has taken its toll on the leaves. It prevented them from changing colors. Splashes of early color at the beginning of the month brought hope. While those colors remain, the majority of the trees remain green. I’m not giving up hope!

I believe the frost the city received last night occurred in just a nick of time to most likely bring a burst of beautiful color in our area when peak colors arrives the last week of October and the first week of November. I see the red maples are looking quite healthy this year, and these trees are plentiful around the Parkway area. With chilly temperatures continuing for the rest of the month, watch the leaves come to life as we head towards Halloween!

What’s this talk about a storm? Yes, it’s been on the models for quite a period of time now. Our annual pre Halloween storm is looking more likely coming up this weekend. With all this chilly air in place, and the time of year, the question arises, could snow be involved? Yes, it does show some similarity to the pre Halloween Blizzard back in 2011. If you recall, many communities northwest of I495 received up to 2 ft of heavy wet snow during that storm, cancelling Halloween, and leaving folks without power for weeks. I’m not going there quite yet, but the potential does exist for another heavy wet snow event in locations that are above 1000 ft in elevation on Sunday. With some foliage still left on the trees, and a very warm summer and fall to date, quite a bit of tree damage and power outages could occur if this event materializes.

With ocean temperatures still so warm, I’m not expecting accumulating snow east of I95 this weekend. Before that happens, there will be another quick hitting storm quickly intensifying in the Gulf of Maine later tomorrow. This alone has the potential to bring the first quick hitting snowstorm to interior parts of western and northern Maine, with up to 3 to 6″ of wet snow possible. Indeed the seasons are changing!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will give this week a 5 out of 10. Expect sunny and cool weather for the rest of today, with highs in the low 50’s.

With a southwest wind, it will not be near as cold overnight as last night. It will be dry, and lows will mainly be in the 30’s in suburban areas, and 40’s in urban locations.

Tuesday will feature a warm front trying to push through the area. Areas north of Boston may not even get past 50, while south of Boston may spike up close to 60. The city should be right in the middle with mid 50’s likely. There will be a few showers from time to time tomorrow, right into tomorrow evening. Right now, I am not expecting any delays for the opening game of the World Series tomorrow night at Fenway. If you’re going, definitely bring a jacket, as temperatures will be falling into the upper 40’s.

Wednesday will feature brisk and cool weather, with highs in the lower 50’s. There still may be a few light showers around with disturbances crossing the area, but no washout is anticipated. It should clear out Wednesday evening with chilly wind, lows should bottom out mainly in the 30’s and low 40’s. Watch the full “Hunter” moon rising in the east! Bring a warm jacket, as it will be a bit colder at the game than Tuesday night. Lucky they’re not at Fenway Thursday night!

Thursday will feel more November like than October. The chill will deepen, with a brisk wind. High temperatures will only make it into the mid  40’s. Thursday night will be clear and cold. Widespread 20’s will be common throughout the region. Even Logan Airport may fall to 32 Thursday night!

Friday will be brisk and chilly, with high temperatures struggling to reach 50. Another cold night is on tap for Friday, with lows in the 20’s and 30’s.

A storm will be developing off the mid Atlantic coast on Saturday, and begin to push north into New England Saturday night and into Sunday. Timing will need to be adjusted as the storm evolves.  At the same time, a cold pocket of air aloft may interact with the storm, creating a unusual early season nor’easter. If the storm intensifies as predicted, heavy rain will change to damaging heavy wet snow across the interior of New England, in locations above 1000 ft in elevation. This may include the Berkshires, Green Mountains of Vermont, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I’m not sure of Maine right now, depends of the track of the storm..

East of I95, in coastal areas, you can expect a windswept soaking rainstorm, with strong east to northeasterly winds of between 30 and 50 mph. Tides are also going to be higher than normal, so the potential for at least minor to moderate coastal flooding does exist. I will monitor and keep everyone posted as I see conditions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have further thoughts and new ideas on the evolving winter forecast. I will also have your Halloween forecast, as well as a preview of the pivotal month of November, and a review of October. In the meantime, it’s that time of year again…when winter likes to make it’s annual Halloween appearance during fall! Be safe!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

 

 

 

Decidedly More Fall-like! 10/15/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Saturday certainly began cold & wet, with steady rain, and temperatures only in the 40’s. In fact, many locations above 2,000 ft saw their first light snowfall in northern New England! The storm cleared out after 2 pm, bringing with it sunshine to end the day. As the sun came out, the snow capped mountains made for a vivid contrast of winter at the summits, and the autumn colors of fall in the valley floor! A sight many hope to see in New England, while viewing fall foliage! Sunday featured more cloudiness, but there was times of sun, and temperatures moderated to seasonal levels, which made it comfortable to be outdoors.

Sadly for many, summer has come to an end. But what a summer it was! Yes, there were a few cool days here and there, but you could make an argument that summer did not really end until last Wednesday, October 10th! Since October is similar to April in an astronomical calendar, this would be like winter not ending until April 10th! In all fairness, wintry weather actually extended deeper into April, than summer did into October. So, did Mother Nature cheat us some summer weather? Not at all! I believe the warm season featured more weather than the cold season had cold. The statistics are there to prove it. Therefore, folks who love summer definitely got their money’s worth!

Now that fall is here, some may be wondering when our installment of Indian Summer will be arriving? Yes, let me answer that for you shortly. If you have been following my posts, you heard me mention that a major pattern shift was on the way for the second half of October. Well, the pattern has arrived, and we have entered into a decidedly more fall-like weather pattern. The truth of the matter is, autumn’s have been so obscenely warm around here the past few years, many folks have become accustomed to warm temperatures extending well into November!

Remember the endless summer last year, when Boston recorded its warmest October on record? This is not how it’s supposed to be here in New England. We may have several warm October’s in a row, or a warm autumn now and again, but eventually, Mother Nature is going to try and balance things out! Therefore, I’m expecting little if any Indian Summer for the rest of autumn this year. Sorry!

So the long awaited pattern change has finally arrived! The decent towards winter has truly begun. Temperatures have cooled…in fact, many suburbs saw their first frost early Sunday morning. Some years, the cool comes and goes. While we may see a brief warm up here and there, it looks like this pattern change means business. Meaning the cool weather will deepen, and will become cold weather as time moves forward. You may say, Pete, of course it’s going to turn cooler, it’s fall after all!

This may be true, but this pattern change looks to be quite significant in my opinion. Long range computer data is Showing not only a chance for frosts and freezes close to Boston at the end of this week, but even colder weather possible as we head towards the last 10 days of October. Thereafter, the cold continues as we head into November. Remember, Boston typically sees its first frost around the third week of October. Due to its proximity to the ocean, Logan Airport is even later, not recording a freeze until approximately November 4th, on average. While this may seem cold to many, it’s actually closer to average than one thinks, due to the excessively warm weather we’ve been experiencing the past several years.

In addition to the cold, computer models are hinting at some kind of a large scale weather event towards the end of October. Over the years, there have been several of these events in the October 28th to 31st time frame. There was the Great New England Halloween storm of 1991. There was the freakish Halloween Blizzard in 2011, when interior New England received two feet of snow! Then of course there was Sandy, just a year later, that resulted in catastrophic damage across the New York / New Jersey region.

October has its extremes. This October has been no exception. While we’ve been lucky so far up here in New England, other areas of the country, not so much. So far, the strongest October hurricane on record recently struck the panhandle of Florida, delivering a devastating blow. While New England has enjoyed near record warmth, extreme cold and snowstorms has an early winter from the Rockies through Minnesota.

Are we next? Right now, it’s still too early to tell. However, looking at some of the long range computer model information, I would say there’s about a 60% chance of some type of major east coast storm, after October 25th. Does this mean break out the shovels here in Boston? No. Typically, it’s still far too warm for heavy snowstorms in Boston during October. However, inland and up in the mountains, it’s a completely different story! There have been countless of early season storms, including as recent as 2011, that have brought crippling October snowfalls to this region. While heavy snow rarely reaches the coastal plain, light snow accumulations is not unprecedented.

Many want to know, if it snows in October, is this a sign of a bad winter? Surprisingly…no! While there’s no evidence either way across the interior, there is some surprising statistics with snow that falls in major coastal cities, such as Boston in October. It doesn’t happen often, but when snow falls and accumulates during October, the chances increase dramatically for less than average snow the following winter.

In my research, Boston has recorded accumulating snow during October in 1979, 2005, 2009, and 2011. Each of the following winters featured below average snowfall in the city of Boston. To be fair, there have been many other years with no snowfall in October, and the following winter featured below average snow…so it may be just a coincidence. But definitely something to keep an eye on!

As you may know, some of my methodology for making a seasonal winter outlook is natural signs from Mother Nature…so you can see why I’m so interested in the October snowfall theory. If we don’t receive snow in October, it boosts my confidence for the upcoming winter snowfall forecast, for sure! It’s still early, but I am beginning to gather all of my information from the research that I have done, to come up with my final winter forecast for New England, published this year on November 19th.

Last week, I promised a preview for this winter. Because this could get quite involved, I will give you the short and sweet version! At this early juncture, I am seeing an extreme winter ahead for much of New England. What this means is that I see a colder winter ahead than previous years. An active sub tropical jet stream supplied by a weak El Nino, should phase with energy from the northern jet stream, bringing several intense nor’easters, with well above average snow for many, including the coast. Global factors are lining up to deliver a memorable winter, with similar years such as 2002-03, 2009-10, and 2014-15 used analog years (years with similar patterns). Only 2009-10 was mild, with less snow here in New England, but folks in the mid Atlantic got whacked with a historic winter. Winter 2014-15 was our turn here in New England, with all time record historic snows in Boston.

What could go wrong? I am monitoring these possibilities closely. If El Nino continues to grow and expand, reaching moderate strength, it could throw too much heat energy into the atmosphere. If this happens, it would make the winter milder, weaken the polar jet, meaning less phasing, and more rain along the coast. Other areas such as the Indian Ocean may continue to warm faster and stronger than currently forecast. This could alter the jet stream, building a stronger ridge along the east coast, preventing severe colds, and major storms. Another factor, ocean temperatures off New England could plummet, resulting in less fuel for nor’easters to strengthen, meaning weaker storms off our coast. All these possibilities need to be monitored before I make my official forecast on November 19th.

Now for your foliage forecast. I’m very happy to report pictures of absolutely stunning foliage this season! The best was this past weekend, when the first snow fell across the summits, contrasting with the vivid autumn colors at lower elevations. The color wave has settled south, and is now about 90 miles to the north and west of the city of Boston. Although some pockets of peak color is also showing up to the south and southwest of Boston as well. With the frosts expected towards the end of this week, watch the colors to rapidly expand south across Massachusetts, reaching Boston’s suburbs by next week, then pushing into the city of Boston the last week of October and the start of November. So far, the color looks to be much improved from last year, with bright reds, oranges and yellows! Enjoy!

Now for your weekly outdoor activity autumn forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Expect cloudy and damp weather for the rest of today, with a few showers from time to time. High temperature should hold in the upper 50’s.

If a warm front pushes through the region this evening, winds may become quite gusty out of the south, southwest upwards to 40 to 50 mph, especially along the south coast. If the front punches north of us,  temperatures may spike into the mid 60’s. However, at the same time, a strong cold front will be slicing through the region, bringing some heavy downpours towards the coast. Later, the winds will shift and become quite gusty out of the northwest. his will act as two things, it will push any humidity out to sea, and it will also turn it much cooler! By dawn, temperatures should fall into the 30’s and 40’s across the region. With a gusty wind, it will also feel much cooler tomorrow.

Tuesday will feature blustery weather, and cool temperatures…a real taste of fall! Temperatures should hold in the mid 50’s. A gusty wind will make it feel colder. Tomorrow night will feature mainly dry. Late at night, winds will tend to relax. This will lead to some chilly temperatures, with lows in the 30’s and 40’s, warmest in urban areas.

Wednesday will see moderating temperatures. With lighter winds, and temperatures near 60, this should make for a pleasant afternoon. Don’t get used to it! Another strong cold front will be charging into New England Wednesday night. While there may be a few showers overnight, the main feature with this front is to bring a much colder air mass.

Watch for much colder but dry weather on Thursday, with high temperatures not getting out of the 30’s up north, and 40’s here in southern New England. Look for cold weather Thursday night, with lows dropping into the teens across parts of northern Maine, 20’s in many other areas of northern New England, and low to mid 30’s here in southern New England. A frost is likely across much of southern New England, except if you live withing 5 miles of the ocean.

Friday will feature milder temperatures, with highs bouncing back into the 50’s with lighter winds. Fair and cool weather can be expected for Friday night.

An approaching cold front may bring scattered rain showers on Saturday, with highs near 60. After this front clears the coast, watch for fair & colder weather to return on Sunday, with highs only near 50. The air may be quite unstable on Sunday, so there is the risk of a few scattered showers in lower elevations, and snow showers in the mountains.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will continue to update you on some clues about the upcoming winter. I will also have a new fall foliage report. I will also keep you posted on any potential storms on the horizon. In the meantime, let’s enjoy our fall weather now that it has arrived…and hope it doesn’t skip straight into winter!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

 

Summer’s Last Gasp? 10/8/18

Hello! Happy Columbus Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their long holiday weekend! So far, the weather has been rather tranquil. Saturday featured most sun along the coast, with cloudy weather inland.

Sunday was warmer, but with that came many clouds. There were even some sprinkles and light showers during the afternoon. Nevertheless, temperatures still managed to reach 80 degrees in Boston!

A subtle back door cold front slipped through the region during the late afternoon, yesterday. It’s called a back door cold front because it moves from northeast to southwest across the region. After it passes, winds turned northeast off the ocean, and temperatures begin to drop.

In addition, with the airflow coming in off of the ocean, we could even see some areas of fog and drizzle throughout the day today. Not the best weather for the Columbus Day holiday, but much closer to seasonal levels than yesterday.

Remember Columbus Day weekend, 2011?? At this time of the year 7 years ago, we were in the midst of a stretch of weather that many won’t soon forget. It was full fledged summer around here, with a 5 day stretch with temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s, with deep blue skies!

I’ll never forget my brother taking his family to Old Silver Beach in Falmouth, Ma. that weekend, and saying it was like mid summer conditions! That warm weather was certainly a sign of things to come, as we experienced one of the warmest and least snowiest winters on record that year.

Speaking of warm weather, it’s time for my summer review and overall grade for my forecast. Wow, is all I have to say! I won’t spend too much time on this, as it’s in the past now, and we can’t do anything about it but learn from mistakes. Yet, I’m not going to feel too bad about the forecast, as many were caught off guard by the unexpected hot summer. I have mentioned many times in the past, summer is a VERY tricky season to forecast! Steering currents are weak, and unexpected surprises happen when you least expect it. In this case, the Bermuda High became the dominant player, and was much stronger than expected.

The first two thirds of the forecast started off well. June and July worked out pretty much as I had anticipated. The problems began to arise later in July. While I my forecast was for it to be warm, I did not anticipate it to be the 8th hottest July on record. If the summer ended at the end of July, it would of been perfect! I said from the beginning, August was going to be the wildcard. Computer models could not grasp the pattern.

Many, including myself, were left the only to give an educated guess as to what was going to happen. As it turned out, that guess was wrong. August took off like a run away freight train, becoming the hottest August on record here in Boston! September only added salt to the wound, with the hottest first week of September ever recorded in the history of the city, and 4th hottest on record.

While it turned out to be the 3rd hottest summer on record in Boston, there were many records broken for the persistent heat, and unrelenting humidity. I did forecast it to be a wetter than normal summer, which it was. My forecast of 10 to 14 ninety degree days was right on target at the end of July. However, by the time September finished, that number had ballooned to 23! I did not anticipate it getting so hot during August and September.

The good news is many people enjoy the hot weather, especially after the recent winter that would not go away. So many were fine with the underestimated forecast for heat. The bad news for me is that I put a lot of time and research into seasonal forecast, and the forecast was  a bust in my eyes. Overall grade is based on effort, and the two thirds of the summer that were forecast correctly. The bust came with the nearly double the amount of 90 degree days we received and unprecedented levels of humidity. Grade…C-!

Moving on…we’re onto Columbus Day! While autumn officially began back on September 22nd, Columbus Day is typically the time when our area typically feels the first nip in the air. While there is a nip to the air today, this will not be the case over the course of the next several days here in the Boston area. In fact, you may be wondering if this is the summer that would not go away! Trust me, it’s going away. I know this is difficult for some to let go, but the seasons are changing!

Before that happens, it’s going to feel like summer around here for the next two days! Indian Summer, you may ask? Officially, no. As we discussed a couple posts back, an official Indian Summer occurs only when a region has had its first frost. We have not even come close to our first frost around Boston, yet. The closest we had was last Friday night, when some communities dipped into the upper 30’s. Officially Boston has not even fallen below 50 degrees at Logan Airport.

But all that may soon change. It appears as if a significant pattern change may finally be putting an end to summer! As I mentioned at the beginning of fall, I’m expecting a more traditional fall across much of New England this year. While we began on the warm side, there are signs that the pattern is about to flip, ushering in cooler temperatures, with frosts and freezes across much of southern New England. While this change may be felt as early as this Friday and into the upcoming weekend, it’s really the last 10 days of the month when we will really feel a noticeable difference.

What does this mean? Well, it means cool, crisp days, with highs near to below average, and chilly to perhaps even cold nights, with widespread frosts and freezes across the region. Average first frost across the interior of southern New England is around the first week of October, so we are already running behind schedule. Along the coast, first frost is typically around the third week of October, so that’s looking good, if the anticipated cold weather arrives.

Once the cold air arrives, it looks like it wants to persist into November. I am not anticipating an endless summer into November this year, as we have seen the past several years. This November is shaping up to be near to even slightly below average the way I see it right now. With all that being said, I’m sure there will be several spells of mild days still yet to come as we head into November, but this is a reminder that winter is indeed coming!

Now for your fall foliage report. Traditionally, Columbus Day is the weekend to take a trip up north to see peak fall colors. Unlike last year, this seems to be working out okay this year. From the reports and pictures that I have gathered from Twitter, it appears as if the colors suddenly came on very strong, and that many locations across the White Mountains, higher elevations of Vermont and in Maine, the color is peaking this weekend! Many folks are reporting average to above average color this year, which is a huge improvement from last year.

This is not for folks who live within 50 miles of the coast. This is across the interior of New England, and especially the higher elevations. Over the course of the next three weeks, the color wave will slowly work into the coastal plain. As I have mentioned before, autumn along coastal New England is spectacular! Mild ocean air, mixes with the advancing chill of autumn, modifying the climate, and prolonging the fall foliage season for a couple extra weeks!

I was out and about yesterday, and happened to notice quite a few trees with leaves turning colors right here in Boston! In fact, there were quite a few with some splashes of brilliant colors! This is interesting, as I also had some friends driving out along Rt 2 saying they saw very little color change, in places you would normally expect to see it. Right now, the real show is across northern New England, and perhaps in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. With the colder temperatures expected to arrive this weekend, the fall foliage extravaganza will begin to advance south. In addition, I believe this year is going to be much more colorful than the poor showing last year. Even Mother Nature has off years!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect overcast skies for the rest of this afternoon. I’m sure you have already noticed, today is significantly cooler than yesterday, by some 20 degrees! There may also be some areas of patchy drizzle, and fog. High temperatures will only be in the upper 50’s to around 60.

Watch for cloudy weather to continue overnight. The difference is that a warm front will be pushing through the region. Behind this warm front, winds are going top shift from the northeast, into the southwest. This is a warm weather wind direction for our region. This also means temperatures will be holding steady, or even rising as dawn approaches.

Southwest winds will usher in much warmer weather tomorrow! After a murky start, with areas of dense fog, the sun should slowly emerge leading to a very warm afternoon. If we get enough sun, I could see temperatures warming up to 80 degrees…let’s go for it!

Tomorrow night will feature mild temperatures, with overnight lows holding mainly in the 60’s. No rain is expected, just another round of patchy dense fog, especially across coastal locations and on Cape Cod.

Low clouds and fog should burn off more quickly on Wednesday. Therefore, I’m expecting more sunshine, and even warmer weather! It would not shock me if we had temperatures above 80 degrees in many spots! This could be summer’s last gasp I mentioned in my title! Beach anyone??

While all this is happening, we actually have Hurricane Michael which has developed in the Caribbean Sea this past weekend. This is still very normal for this to happen this time of the year, as hurricane season extends all the way until November 30th. This hurricane is currently a category 1 storm, but is forecast to possibly strengthen into a category 3 before it makes landfall somewhere in the Florida panhandle on Wednesday. This is a major hurricane, with winds possibly as strong a 120 mph.

After it makes landfall, it is forecast to move towards the Carolinas, then move northeast, and pass south of New England later Thursday and into Friday. At the same time, a strong cold front will be moving east from New York state. This front will likely absorb some of the moisture from Michael, as it slowly tracks across the region later Thursday and into Friday with periods of showers and downpours, some of which can be heavy. Timing is very difficult to pin down at the moment. Expect unsettled weather on either Thursday or Friday, or possibly even both days.

After the front pushes offshore, winds are expected to turn northwest, and usher in the coolest air of the season this weekend. Saturday could still see temperatures in the low 60’s, but this may cool down into the 50’s by Sunday, with partial sunshine. Lows overnight will turn chilly, with many 30’s and 40’s showing up across the region, with even colder weather Sunday night, with a first frost across suburbia!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have some preliminary thoughts about this upcoming winter. I will also have a new fall foliage report! In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather next couple of days…as summer says goodbye!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Happy Birthday to my sister, Valerie! October 10th.~

 

It’s October…But It’s Still Not Over! 10/1/18

Hello, to all! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Whatever you were doing, it was a spectacular early fall New England weekend! Saturday featured mainly sunny skies, amidst passing fair weather clouds. Temperatures were quite pleasant, with highs in the lower 70’s. Sunday was cooler, but what about that blue sky! After a cool start, temperatures recovered to the upper 60’s, with some towns hitting 70.

They say September has the best weather of the year here in New England. Unfortunately, this past weekend was a not a good representation on how this September turned out. After several drier than normal Septembers, this year featured our seventh wettest September on record. Like the past several years, this September ended up being the fourth warmest on record. So you could say it was a very warm and wet month! We typically see cooler and drier weather in September. Due to the weather being so warm, the fall foliage has once again been delayed this year. I will talk more about this in my foliage report later on in the post.

Welcome to October! We have now entered the month of transition, when we move out of summer and into autumn. In general, October is still a very nice month around here. A few things to consider about October. First, you will notice a decrease in temperatures. While average high temperatures to the start the month is around 67, this drops a full 10 degrees to 57 by Halloween. Same goes for night time lows that begin at 52 degrees, but drop to 42 by Halloween. With the cooling temperatures, we also introduce the first frost to many communities. Typically during the first week in the suburbs, and in urban areas around the last week of October.

We also begin losing daylight rapidly during October. Think of sun of October, similar to that of April in the astronomic calendar. We are in the middle month of autumn. While the sun sets at approximately 6:26 pm tonight, we lose nearly an hour by Halloween, when it sets at 5:39 pm! In April, we would be gaining an hour of daylight!

October is typically the least stormy month in Boston, with having the least amount of precipitation in any given month throughout the year. Perhaps this is Mother Nature’s way to let us enjoy the beautiful fall colors on the trees, without being pelted by rain or snow? While it’s the least rainy month, this doesn’t mean no rain! Some Octobers are drier than others, and vice versa. In general, Boston receives about 3 1/2″ of precipitation in October. Back in 1996, there was a massive nor’easter, which deposited close to 10″ of rain!

We typically do not see snow in Boston during this month….however, it’s not unprecedented for the flakes to fly every now and again! Up north, and in the mountains, it’s common for many locations to see their first snows, and in some cases even a snowstorm, especially in higher elevations. October snow has no representation of how the winter will unfold. In fact, there is very good scientific data that show measurable snow in Boston during October, typically yields to a below average snow season the following winter. In 1979, 2005, and 2011 we had accumulating snow in Boston, only to lead to well below average snowfall the following winter. Go figure!

Look for quite changeable conditions in New England this October. I’m expecting much above normal temperatures the first half of the month, only to transition to chillier than normal weather the second half of the month, with widespread frosts and freezes. While I don’t see snow in Boston this year, I do expect many of the mountains to receive their first snowfalls later in the month. This should make for a vivid backdrop with the snow covered mountains, and fall foliage colors in the valleys below!

Keeping the theme from this summer and early fall, I’m expecting above average precipitation across most of the region, which should continue for the remainder of the year. While most Octobers are quite tranquil, there have been notable exceptions. Super Storm Sandy back in 2012, brought a ferocious hybrid hurricane nor’easter combo, which lashed the mid Atlantic region with a record storm surge coastal flooding, destructive hurricane force winds, and up to 4 ft of snow in the Appalachian Mountains! It would not surprise me if we saw another high impact event during the second half of this month.

While there’s lots to watch and do in October, the biggest show of all is the fall foliage! So far, much of New England is running one to two weeks behind peak schedule. This is mainly due to the unusually warm weather we have been receiving in August and September this year. In some ways it does remind me of last year. If you recall, we had one of the worst fall foliage seasons in years last year. While I’m not calling for a spectacular year, I still do believe things will be improved over last year. With the colder weather expected during the last two weeks of October, it may be a short, but colorful season in the Boston area heading towards Halloween and first couple weeks of November. I’m already seeing some very colorful splashes on the trees around the Boston area, which is a good sign.

Even up north, despite the slow start, reports have been coming in that the foliage is beginning to change quickly, and is more colorful than last year. Again, it may not be the best of years, but improvement over last year would be welcome news! True, the warm temperatures will hold the foliage back region wide through the first half of the month, but I see conditions much more conducive for bringing out the beautiful fall colors the second half of the month…fingers crossed!

Speaking of warm weather, summer may be behind us, but medium range computer models are showing quite a toasty pattern setting up next week! It will not officially be called Indian Summer, because many locations here in southern New England has not received their first frost. However, it’s October now, and any warm weather say above 75 degrees could be considered Indian Summer in my books! While this week is looking seasonable on average, with up and down temperatures, next week could really get warm, with some 80 degree high temperatures not out of the question!

You may be saying this sounds like last year? You would be correct! Last October was the warmest October on record in Boston! While it may seem like we’re headed in the similar direction this year, much colder weather the second half of the month should bring us back down to reality. In general, warm weather during October is not a sign of a mild winter. In fact, it’s the opposite. The same areas that enjoy warmer than normal October weather, typically sees the worst of the winter weather later on the following winter!

If this unusual warmer than normal weather patterns were to continue for the month of November, then I would have to scale back my winter thoughts. While October may begin to show some clues about the upcoming winter, November holds the answers. Beginning today, I will be monitoring the weather patterns and natural signs very closely as we move deeper into autumn, leading up to my official winter forecast to be published on November 19th. Preliminary thoughts are pointing to a stormy winter, with above average snow in Boston and along the I95 corridor.

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I am giving this week a 5 out of 10…quite unsettled from time to time, but there’s hope for the weekend! A wavy frontal boundary will mark the demarcation between chilly fall air to our north, and warm summery air to our south, for the better part of this week. Expect quite changeable weather this week, with periods of rainy weather, cool northeast winds, then warmer on Thursday, only to cool off Friday again!

Expect cloudy and damp weather for the rest of this afternoon, with northeast winds taking over, and temperatures falling back into the upper 50’s. Watch for similar weather overnight, with areas of fog and drizzle, and temperatures nearly steady.

A wave of low pressure will be approaching the region later tonight through much of Tuesday and Tuesday night. Look for gloomy weather to continue through this period, with periods of rain along with the chance of some embedded downpours. Temperatures will hold in the upper 50’s and low 60’s, warmest to the south.

As this low pressure moves to our north and east on Wednesday, expect improving weather during the day. However, with an onshore flow, I’m concerned that low clouds may tend to linger along the coast. Let’s go optimistic for now, and hope for some breaks of sun during the afternoon.

A southwest wind on Thursday will act to not only dry out the atmosphere, but also transport much warmer air into southern New England. If all things go according to plan, we could be making a run at 80!

As a storm passes to our north later in the day, it will drag a cold front through the region. This may bring a few showers to the region overnight on Thursday, ending early Friday morning. This front would shift winds back into the northeast, and introduce cooler and drier conditions on Friday, with highs back into the 60’s.

Right now, a warm front looks to move north of our region on Saturday, bringing the 70’s back along with it, along with dry weather. As the front sags south on Sunday, northeast winds may cool off the coast once again back into the 60’s. Wow! It’s like watching a ping pong game! All in all, it’s looking like a very pleasant autumn weekend! Enjoy!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog I will be talking about our very warm weather expected next week, as well as when we may see the end of our growing season. I will also have a new fall foliage report. I did not have time for my summer review and grade today, I plan on writing about that next week. In the meantime, it may be October, but Mother Nature says, it’s still not over!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Happy Birthday tomorrow, to my niece Olivia!~

 

There’s Still Hope For Indian Summer! 9/24/18

Hello! Welcome to autumn! Fall officially arrived at 9:54 Saturday evening. The weather was fitting, as a gusty wind brought chilly temperatures to most of the region. While Saturday featured a good bit of sun & mild temperatures, Sunday saw a lot of cloudiness, at least down here in southern New England, along with cooler temperatures. One by product of all the high cloudiness around Boston yesterday was a spectacular sunset across the region last evening, with beautiful array of colors which included orange, red, purple and pink!

I was out and about doing errands, and was keeping an eye out on the clouds. Unfortunately, I gave up on the sunset, and did not take a ride over to my favorite spot at Millennium Park in West Roxbury. Boy, was that a mistake! By the time I got home the true colors of the sunset had only then began to span the sky. Even the rare reverse sunset showed up, with pink hues in the eastern sky!

A sharp cold front dropped down from Maine Sunday night, and brought record cold temperatures to northern Maine last night. Some areas had low temperatures down into the teens! Caribou achieved a record low of 25 degrees. Wow! Here in Boston, a gusty northeast wind and temperatures in the low 50’s was a reminder that fall has indeed arrived! Could this be a early sign for the upcoming winter?

Perhaps, but I wouldn’t look into too many signs for the upcoming winter during September. Long range computer models can help give us a better idea what’s going to happen, than signs from Mother Nature at this point. As we move deeper into October and especially November, that’s when I begin to pay close attention to natural signs that Mother Nature freely gives out, as to what the upcoming winter may have in store for us.

Before we get to winter, we still have a whole season of fall to get through! Like spring, fall has seems to have lost some of its luster in recent years. With ocean temperatures so unusually warm off our coast, it seems as if summer has been extending deeper into fall, until the pattern just snaps into winter sometime in January. Once the oceans sufficiently cool off, it also takes them longer to warm up in the spring, helping winter to linger deeper into our spring, which brings annoyance to many. I have been calling this the seasonal shift. The scientific terminology for this phenomenon is latent heating and cooling.

These patterns have thrown off Mother Nature’s timetable too. Leaves have been staying on the trees and not changing colors on time in the fall. In the spring, leaves remain closed, fearing late freezes and unusual late winter storms. Last year was a classic example of this delayed seasonal change. Boston saw its warmest October on record. This delayed the trees changing colors, and in some cases, they never changed at all. When freezes came in November, the leaves just died and fell to the ground. That, and along with black tar leaf disease, brought one of the most lack luster fall foliage seasons in memory around the Boston area.

What about this season? Can we expect another seasonal shift, will warm temperatures extending deep into December? Is the foliage going to peak around Thanksgiving, instead of Halloween? Many have been asking me when we can expect Indian Summer to arrive? These are all very good questions, which I will try and do my best to answer these to the best of my knowledge!

First, what I can see, is a battle of the seasons brewing. While it’s natural to see clashing air masses this time of year, this year appears to be more extreme than in years past. While the oceans are still abnormally warm off our coast, in much of central and northern Canada, winter is already settling in! There already has been several snowfalls in cities as far south as Edmonton in the province of Alberta, Canada!

Most long range computer models are predicting a weak El Nino this winter. If this holds true, winters are typically colder in eastern Canada. As we move deeper into the winter, this cold air begins to slowly press southward into the eastern part of the U.S. At first, this cold air is going to be held back by the warm oceans I spoke about earlier. This will mean a lot of back and forth temperatures as we head into October and first part of November. This period should average close to seasonal norms. Because it’s been so far above normal temperatures, it may actually feel cold at times this October.

Later in November around Thanksgiving time, and heading into December is when I believe things will begin to get very interesting around here. In general, I’m expecting an earlier start to winter this year. I feel that the cold in eastern Canada will be so overpowering, that it may penetrate closer to the coast earlier than previous years. At first, the very warm ocean will put up a fight! With the clashing of the cold air, and very warm water, this could lead to powerful early season nor’easters later in November, and especially in December.

Before we get to that, there is still hope for some Indian Summer! Many friends have been asking me whether we are going to have an Indian Summer this fall. What is Indian Summer? Well, many people have their own interpretation as to what they think Indian Summer is. Some think it’s a period of warm weather after the start of fall. While others think it’s a period of warm weather after the first frost. The true definition of Indian Summer is a period of warm, sunny weather, after the first frost, and after the leaves have fallen. To make this official, this would normally occur sometime later in November or even early December. My own classification of Indian Summer is any period of warm weather after a first frost, which typically happens sometime in October around these parts.

Last year, we had an endless Indian Summer. With October being the warmest on record, we really did not begin to see any frosts until later in October, and mid November in the city. Looking at some of the long range computer data, this year appears to be different. Rather than it being warm all of the time, I’m expecting an overall cooler pattern this October, with brief bursts of warm weather, which may only last a day or two. I’m also expecting frost to make an earlier appearance this year. On average, frost arrives in Boston’s suburbs around the first week in October, but doesn’t make it into the city until about the third week of the month, and not until around November 4th at Logan Airport.

With the chillier weather expected, I’m expecting a more vibrant fall foliage season this year. Last year, we were battling drought, record warm temperatures, and spotted black tar leaf disease. While I am still seeing some black tar disease, it’s definitely not as severe as last year. I’m also expecting cooler weather at the right time, and we’ve had ample amounts of rain to keep the trees healthy. The key now is that we  need some chilly nights to get the trees to start shutting down their sugar intake. I believe this process is beginning, and with a less hostile environment this year, the leaves are going to put on a show we’re accustomed to around here!

So far, good color is beginning to show up across far northern New England. It may be behind right now, but I believe the recent chilly nights will begin to accelerate this process. This ‘color wave’ will begin track south as each week passes. Typically, trees change quickly in the highlands and mountains, then spread south into the valleys and coastal plains. A good rule of thumb is around Columbus Day weekend for central New Hampshire and Berkshires of Massachusetts. In these areas, peak colors come and go within 7 to 10 days. Due to marine influences, areas inside of I95 typically enjoy a full month of colorful trees, changing at various times through the month. On average, peak color slowly pushes through coastal regions the last week of October and first week of November. If the weather cooperates, it can be absolutely breathtaking!

I have already begun to see some trees changing in my neighborhood. Early signs are showing some bright colors. If the weather cooperates with chilly nights, this trend should continue as we head into October, reaching peak color around Halloween. Let’s hope for the best!!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. A northeast wind blowing in off the ocean will maintain low clouds in eastern Massachusetts this afternoon. Across northern New England, it should be mainly sunny. It will be chilly, with high temperatures only in the 50’s region wide, except low 60’s in parts of Connecticut.

Tonight will feature a continuation of the cool weather. Clouds may break at just the right time this evening to view the beautiful  full “Harvest” moon! Try and catch a glimpse! Later on, couds will begin to increase ahead of our next weather system.

A warm front will be approaching New England on Tuesday. At first, this may sound like good news. However, because of the unseasonably chilly air anchored over New England, this will present problems for our weather. The warm air, will ride up and over the cool air, this will create rain. Watch for rain to spread from west to east during the morning hours, reaching the coast by late morning, if not sooner. It will turn into a soaking rain during the afternoon, with heavy downpours. While it won’t warm up too much, it will be noticeably warmer than today, with highs reaching the 60’s.

As the warm front passes through our region tomorrow night, the weather is going to become steamy, with areas of dense fog, and more showers. Temperatures will not fall much from the highs during the day.  in fact, they may even rise overnight.

Wednesday will be one of those days I was talking about earlier, where it will feel like summer again! Watch for muggy weather, with some breaks of sun. It will be warm, with high temperatures spiking to near 80 degrees!

A strong cold front will be approaching the area late in the day. If we see enough breaks of sun, some places, especially across the interior of New England may have some severe thunderstorms during the late afternoon. These storms should weaken as they approach the coastal plain, but a thunderstorm can not be ruled out after 7 pm on Wednesday.

Watch for generally dry and seasonable weather to sweep into New England for the period Thursday through Sunday. A small system passing to our south may bring a slight chance of some showers Friday night into early Saturday, otherwise, it’s looking fairly dry at this point. Temperatures should generally be in the 60’s and low 70’s during the day, and 50’s at night. Fairly seasonable to perhaps a bit above, but pleasant weather nonetheless.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my summer review, and give myself a grade! I will also have a preview of October, and review September. I will also have a new fall foliage report, and talk about the upcoming fall weather patterns. In the meantime, if you love summer, start praying for Indian Summer…the countdown to winter has begun!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Happy Birthday tomorrow to my nephew, Nicholas!~

Who’s Ready For Autumn? 9/17/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! While Sunday was a stellar late summer day, I was a bit dismayed at how stubborn the low clouds and fog persisted on Saturday. In the end, the sun finally burned through, albeit way later than I originally planned. Nonetheless, it did turn out to be a fine afternoon, with warm temperatures, and a tropical looking sky. Yesterday turned almost hot, with many communities heating up into the mid to upper 80’s, with some touching 90,  with moderate humidity levels. A fine beach day for mid September…just don’t go into the water!

As has been the theme this summer, the weather this past week turned out to be much more fickle than I anticipated. A wavy weather front in the area separated extreme humidity to our south, with cooler, maritime weather to our north and east. This resulted in areas of dense fog, cool easterly winds, and periods of heavy rain last Monday night, then again on Wednesday. Sandwiched in between were some nice days as well, on Tuesday, later Thursday, then again over the weekend. No excuses here, just New England weather doing what it wants to do, despite what computer models say.

Well, it finally happened. The inevitable death as a result of a great white shark attack. The tragedy occurred in Wellfleet, on Cape Cod. Despite the warning signs, and other swimmers encountering close calls, the 26 year old man ventured out with his boogie board, about 30 yards off the beach when he was viciously attacked and fatally wounded. I don’t blame the shark. We’re entering their world. These fish are the largest predators in our ocean, looking for food. It’s been said before, the shark can not decipher whether the boogie board is a human, or a seal out for leisurely afternoon swim. This was the first fatal attack by a great white shark in Massachusetts since 1936, when a 16 year old boy was killed off Mattapoisett, in Buzzards Bay.

Speaking of seals, the population off the New England coast is exploding. At one point, seals were hunted in Massachusetts, and were given $5 for each kill. The bounty ended in 1972, when Marine Mammal Protection Act was signed, ending the bounty to the nearly extinct mammal. Since then, population of the curious creature has ballooned to between 30.000 and 50.000 off the southeast coast of Massachusetts.*

What does this mean? Well, seal watching tours and tourists in general have been enjoying near guaranteed viewing results, as people flock to catch a glimpse of playful mammals. Many people enjoy watching them. However, many fisherman and even folks who live close by where they conjugate feel otherwise. The fisherman say the seal’s are stealing their fish. The residents say they’re just too many of them, taking beach space away from them.

The fishermen & residents have advocated for a control hunt, to keep populations in check. Meanwhile, conservationists are applauding the recovery, claiming that it has been a miracle that the animal has recovered so well, calling it a “conservation success.” I can see both sides to the argument.

So why are the sharks here? Undoubtedly, the explosion in the seal population is probably at the root of the problem. The unprecedented warm ocean temperatures off our coast is no doubt also a contributor, as sharks like warm water. With the death of a person, this has become a  public safety hazard. At some point, something has to give. If we weren’t here, nature would just let it work itself out. Not to compare sharks to rats, but if a town had a rodent infestation issue, they would exterminate the rats. I’m not sure what the solution is, but things have gotten out of control. Watch for a clash between conservationists and government officials at some point soon regarding this issue.

Shark rant over, back to our weather! It doesn’t seem like it, but the autumnal equinox will arrive this Saturday, September 22nd at 9:54 PM! So far, we have seen very little in the way of autumn weather. In all fairness, it’s still officially summer. And what a summer it has been! Boston is still in line with having our third hottest summer on record, among all the other warm weather records we have broken. It was also the muggiest summer’s on record.

You would think it would begin to cool down here in September. While the averages have come down, summertime warmth continues unabated here into mid September. This is on top of the warmest start to September in Boston weather history. Do I see summer continuing for the rest of September, October and part of November like last year? The short answer to this question is, no! At least I don’t believe so. I would like to think not, and I do have evidence that it won’t, but this heat has been very resilient this year…so one never knows for sure.

However, there is growing support that a shift in the pattern is on the way. Nothing major just yet, but a shift to more seasonal weather looks to be on the way, nonetheless. I’m pleased to announce, for folks that enjoy fall weather, that I’m very confident that New England will experience a traditional fall this year! This means apple picking, fall festivals, searching for the perfect pumpkin, and fall foliage trips, without thinking that this would of also been a perfect beach day!

For the rest of September I’m expecting cooler temperatures to invade New England with some chilly nights. This will lead us into a more typical October, with temperatures much closer to seasonal levels, if not a touch below. You can expect frost to arrive close to seasonal averages this year. In most cases, frost in September is confined to northern New England, and the deep interior of southern New England. However, as move into October, this progresses towards the rest of New England. First, interior eastern Massachusetts typically sees their first frost the first week of October, with the rest of us closer to the coast the last week of October. Some locations right on the ocean may not see their first freeze until the first week of November.

By the way, with the cooler temperatures, I’m expecting an early arrival to winter this year. You will be hearing talk of snow if not in October, then surely by November. This is mainly for interior New England, but would not be surprised if the coast saw snow in November this year. More on this in future posts!

With more seasonal temperatures expected, I’m also expecting to see a better fall foliage season this year! You may already be seeing some leaves beginning to turn around the area. While these may be pretty to look at, these trees are distressed, and often begin changing color in late August. The real foliage is beginning up across way up in northern New England., northern Maine. Here, the frosts come early, and the trees change quickly, with peak fall colors typically occurring the last few days of September and start of October. Last year was not a good season. Drought, and very warm weather prevented the leaves from changing much later than typical times. With the colder temperatures expected later this month, watch the foliage season to flourish quickly, and begin to rapidly head south!

Here’s your last beach and boating forecast of the season! Camping forecast will be incorporated into the general weekly forecast. If you love the beach…I’m sorry to say your days are numbered! In fact, today could be it! I hope some of you were able to get out this past weekend to enjoy summer’s last hurrah! It was a great summer! Look for mainly sunny and warm weather at area beaches today, with light winds, warm ocean temperatures, with temperatures near 80. Flooding rains from Florence will mark the end of summer tomorrow. Cool winds will follow the storm, with a possible brief spike in temperatures come Friday, followed by more cool weather this weekend, and for the foreseeable future. With Florence passing through tomorrow, please be aware of rough seas for you boaters. Expect choppy seas for the rest of the week with frontal passages and shifting winds.

Now for your weekly outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. As mentioned above, get out and enjoy the summer like warm temperatures today! Watch for mainly sunny weather. However, you will notice high cirrus clouds on the increase during the afternoon. It will be warm and more muggy, with high temperatures in the low to mid 80’s region wide. Clouds will thicken overnight, it will remain warm and muggy with lows mainly in the 60’s.

Tuesday will be an eventful day. The remnants of Florence is going to track through southern New England. Right now, the center of the storm is forecasted to track across the south coast of New England. At one point, Florence dropped between 30 and 40″ of rain in the Carolinas. While weaker, the package of moisture still associated with the storm will be tracking across our region tomorrow. Therefore, expect a warm, tropical feel to the day.

Tropical showers may fall at any point during the day from 7 AM to 5 PM, but the worst looks to be between 11 AM and 4 PM around Boston. During this time, you can expect torrential downpours, with flooding of poor drainage areas. There’s the potential of between 2 and 4″ of rain to fall in Boston tomorrow, with up to 6″ in isolated locations to the north of the city. There’s also the potential of isolated severe thunderstorms, so please monitor local broadcasts.

The storm will move offshore later in the afternoon, around Boston. Showers will slowly exit Cape Cod during evening, and end. Winds will shift to the north later at night, and keep a moist flow across most of our area though much of Wednesday. Temperatures will be cooler, with highs only in the 60’s, along with some areas of drizzle. Just to cover myself, there’s always a chance skies clear earlier, with decent weather for the afternoon.

Wednesday night will feature clearing skies, and cooler weather, with lows in the 40’s and 50’s. Thursday looks like a nice day at this point, with mainly sunny skies, but with highs only in the upper 60’s at best.

A warm front may move across the region Friday, briefly bringing back warmer temperatures.  But a strong cold front will be sweeping across the region later on in the day, bringing with it the chance of some showers. Cooler weather will then settle in over the weekend. Another cold front may sweep across the region later Saturday, bringing with it the arrival of autumn! Watch for chilly temperature to greet you Sunday morning, with lows in the upper 30’s and 40’s from north to south. As always, warmest temperatures will be in urban areas, coldest in rural locations. Mother Nature’s timing is impeccable!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be talking a little bit at what I’m seeing for our winter this year. I will also let you know whether we are in the clear for any tropical activity. I will also have a update on our autumn weather, and a new fall foliage and camping forecast! In the meantime, don’t be sad that summer is ending. Be happy that we had such a glorious season!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

*Some information derived from NPR news.

 

 

It’s All About Flo! 9/10/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! For once, the weather was seasonal for this time of year. After an astounding 75 straight days, Boston’s temperature finally dipped below 60 degrees. This was good enough for second place, only behind the record of 80 straight days set back in 1983. There was definitely a fall feel to the air, with many suburban communities dipping down into the 40’s. In fact, there was even some frost way up across parts of northern Maine. While this may seem early to us down here, it was actually about when they would expect it up there. This is where it begins. As the weeks go by, frost levels begin sinking south towards Massachusetts then beyond, as we head into October. Though there was limited sunshine, there was no rain, so many outdoor activities went off without a hitch.

The cooler breezes were a welcome change, for many. As I had mentioned in previous posts, this summer far exceeded most expectations regarding the heat. I’m not going to announce all the records again, I think we’ve covered them all. However, I did want to say, with last weeks surge, we added three more 90 degree days to tally, bringing us to a whopping total of 23 days of 90 degree temperatures this summer! In addition, this was the hottest first week of September on record here in Boston, this coming off the hottest August on record. This was also the third hottest summer ever recorded in the city of Boston. Good grief!

I like to talk about how Mother Nature balance things out. She’s certainly making up for lost time this summer. This reminds me of how winter seemed to keep lingering deep into the spring this year, with many folks wondering when will it ever end? Well, this is the summer version of that! I for one, have had enough! While I love all the seasons in New England, without a doubt winter is my favorite. Autumn is a close second, well, because winter follows it! I also love summer too, but not to this extent! I can now see what folks were feeling when winter refused to leave this past spring!

Now that we’re heading towards mid September, can we finally say goodbye to summer and welcome autumn into our lives? The chilly weather this past weekend would make you think yes! I see many folks out there actually looking forward to the change of seasons. However, Mother Nature still has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Like many seasonal forecasts as of late, this fall will comes with its challenges. Because of a developing El Nino, and other global factors, I believe we are in the beginning stages of some extreme weather patterns taking hold of much of the U.S. This includes us here in New England. Though I will be touching base on the winter outlook from time to time, my initial focus will be on our upcoming autumn season.

Last fall, if you recall, was all about the endless summer we experienced.  After a very warm September, October featured all time record warmth in much of our region. In stark contrast, November turned chilly, with near to slightly below average temperatures. Unusual warmth then returned and persisted through Christmas Eve last year. A sharp cold front brought snow Christmas morning, then an abrupt cold snap plunged us into the deep freezer to end up the year.

While many things appear to be the same, there are some differences from last year beginning to show up. Unusually warm ocean temperatures continue to plague our typical weather patterns, especially here in New England. Over the past several years, unusual warm ocean temperatures has been preventing typical fall weather from arriving. Seasonal shifts are running a good one to two months displaced from normal. This means autumn does not arrive until around mid November or even December, and winter not arriving full force until sometime in January or in some cases like last year until March! Once the ocean finally cools off sometime in February, inter then tends to linger deeper into our spring. This process is called latent heating and cooling, and has a profound effect on our climate.

This year, once again, we have even warmer ocean temperatures sitting off our coast! While this may protect us from early chill of autumn, I believe this abnormally warm ocean water will act as fuel to intensify strong nor’easters later this fall and into this winter. As of this point, I’m expecting the warmer than normal September to continue, along with some brief interruptions of chilly air, much like we just had.

Expect this pattern to persist into the first half of October, then I believe a change to more typical autumn weather may finally arrive into the New England for the second half of October heading into November. This means frosts should be on time, with typical end of growing seasons. On average, frost occurs across the interior of New England first, then struggles to reach the coastline as we get deeper into fall. Far interior locations can begin to see frosts starting now. Later in September, this spreads to many other locations across northern and even western New England, including the Berkshires. Early October is typical for interior Massachusetts, including many of Boston’s suburbs. Later October, frost can be seen across much of eastern Massachusetts, except right along the water, including Logan Airport, which sometimes does not see 32 degrees until sometime during the first week of November.

Along with the cooler temperatures expected, I believe many of us will see our first accumulation of snow this November. Winter may arrive with a vengeance early this year, beginning right around Thanksgiving. Again, it’s a tricky forecast. I believe the fall will be cooler this year, because we have a developing weak El Nino (warm water in the Pacific Ocean, off South America). This should promote a trough of low pressure (cold & stormy) to develop earlier across the eastern part of the U.S.later this fall.

Before then, we have a serious hurricane to contend with! Fortunately, a strong blocking ridge of high pressure is going to block Florence from making the turn and head up the coast. Instead, this block, that I have been talking about all summer, is going to track Florence on a west northwest path, straight into the Carolinas. At this point, the exact location of landfall is unknown, but people in this region of the country need to be making preparations for a severe storm to strike withing 72 hours from now!

After meandering around in the central Atlantic all weekend, Florence is on the move! Strong shear was inhibiting Flo from intensifying over the weekend. However, Flo is now beginning to track west, heading towards the southeast coast of the United States. In addition, the upper level pattern has improved , making it a less hostile environment for Flo to strengthen. She is also tracking over ocean temperatures which are running in the mid 80’s, plenty warmer enough for hurricanes to maintain and gain strength. According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, Florence has now increased in intensity, and is now a dangerous category 4 hurricane, with winds of up to 140 mph. It would not shock me if Flo briefly attained category 5 status,with winds in excess of 150 mph, before weakening slightly back to a category 4 before making landfall.

This is going to be a dangerous storm, similar to the likes of Hugo that struck South Carolina back in 1989. However, unlike Hugo, Florence is expected to stall along the coast, and possibly dump excessive amounts of rain to the tune of 10 to 15″ along the coast and 20 to 30″ across the interior foothills and mountains, possibly higher, across the Carolinas. Along the coast, people can expect winds of up to 130 mph, and coast surge of up to 15 ft. This is going to be a very dangerous storm, with life threatening conditions. Please listen to emergency management officials for evacuation plans and storm preparedness instructions. These are highly trained people who are here to help. If you stay, you run the risk of endangering these people, and also loss of your own life.

A couple takeaways. Remember when I said this will be a less than active season, but it only takes one storm to result in billions of dollars in damages…this is the storm. The storm is one of several in the Atlantic, which are forming on the peak of hurricane season, which happens to be today, September 10th. Is this storm unusual? No, this region has seen many hurricanes and tropical storms strike over the course of history. It will blow through, they will rebuild, and they will recover. As long as they take the necessary precautions, there will be minimal loss of life. Please be responsible and prepare to seek shelter from now!

Now for your weekly outdoor summer activity forecast. Despite Florence to our south, and rain later today, I will give this week a 7 out of 10. Expect cloudy and cool weather for the balance of this afternoon, with highs mainly in the 60’s. There may be some showers passing through at any point during the afternoon.

As it becomes more muggy overnight, we will also experience periods of showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms crossing the region. Some of these showers may contain torrential downpours and flooding of poor drainage areas.

Looks like back to old habits on Tuesday, with the weather becoming very muggy. We will have more breaks of sun than today, but we will still run the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms at any time during the day, but especially during the maximum heating of the day during the afternoon. It will become warm and muggy, with highs ranging from 80 to 85 degrees.

After some evening thunderstorms dissipate, expect a warm and muggy night, with lows not falling below 70 degrees here in Boston.

As of this point, it looks like the weather should remain warm for the period of Wednesday through Sunday. With no cold fronts in sight, this also means the return of unusually muggy weather during this period. Expect high temperatures to be in the upper 70’s along the coast and lower to middle 80’s inland. As some storms pass north of our region, there’s always a chance of a few showers or thunderstorms, especially in this warm air mass, but no washouts are anticipated at this time. Also, be on the lookout for large swells and rip currents crashing into the south coast beaches of New England, emanating from hurricane Florence.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my first fall foliage report of the season! I have already seen a few leaves changing here and there! Because it’s been so warm, I may also have one or two more beach and boating forecasts. I will also have a new camping and hiking forecast, as this is the season. In the meantime, thoughts and prayers go out for all the people dealing with Florence, and let’s all be grateful it’s not us here in New England!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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