Living On The Edge! 5/20/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! All in all, the weekend wasn’t too bad. It did not begin that way, though! The wet trend continued on Friday’s, as a few morning showers, blossomed into a soaking afternoon rain.

My cousin happened to be getting married Friday afternoon…in an outdoor wedding! The weather gods must of been on his side, as the skies cleared just in a nick of time!

Outdoor weddings are beautiful, as long as the weather cooperates! I was very happy to see the weather improve, allowing festivities to be carried out as planned. A great time was had by all, but it was touch and go there for a few moments!

As they say, timing is everything! Saturday proved to be a chamber of commerce day, with 100% of the possible sunshine, light winds, and temperatures in the low 70’s.

Sunday featured changeable weather conditions, with a mix of clouds and sun, more muggy, and a round of midday showers. Early evening cleared out once again, allowing for a dry early evening walk at the park, or an outdoor cook out.

Many were so happy to see the midday showers move through the Boston area. This ensured the streak of at least some rain falling on each of every weekend since St. Patrick’s Day weekend, to remain in tact!

While it brings no consolation, many would be surprised to know that rainfall has not been too excessive. In fact, Boston is just running an inch or two above average for the year, and just slightly above for May.

Many times it’s the perception, that distorts the reality when it comes to climate. No doubt, it has been raining a lot! The statistics speak for themselves. I believe it has rained, at least a little, an astounding 76% of the days, since March!

A persistent boundary, dividing cold air to our north, and warm to hot air to our south, continues to generate impulses of moisture tracking through New England. The meteorological term for those who are interested in quasi stationary frontal boundary!

This is a spring phenomenon, which shows up just about every year. This year, the boundary unusually active, and persistent.

These fast moving storms, has resulted in at least a little rain falling in Boston every other day since March. Sometimes, a stronger impulse moves through, resulting in heavier rain such as on Mother’s Day, and this past Friday.

This is all well and good, but many folks want to know when all this nonsense is going to stop!! It seems like Mother Nature can’t decide whether it’s spring, summer, or even winter around here!

No doubt this pattern has been persistent. It settled in around November of last year, and is still going strong! The folks out in the western part of the country must be wondering if winter is there permanently.

Snow continues to fall in the Sierra’s of California, Colorado, Wyoming, and upper parts of the mid west, like Duluth, Minnesota.

I believe Mammoth Mountain has received over 700″ of snow this winter, and still counting! If this continues, the snow may not completely melt until sometime in August!

As I have mentioned before, the jet stream is like a hose when you shake it. Where it dips is called a trough of low pressure (cold & stormy). Where it rises is called a ridge of high pressure (warm & dry).

For the better part of this winter, and now deep into spring, the trough has been out west, and the ridge in the east, particularly the southeast. New England has been caught in the middle, sometimes cool, sometimes warm, as the jet stream oscillates from north to south.

My cousin Jim asked me why this past winter was so lame around here. Unfortunately, this was a loaded question, and I did not have enough time to explain the reasoning thoroughly enough, to him.

In short, the atmosphere played a cute little trick on us. While it appeared that we were in a El Nino (warm north & west / cold south & east), the weather pattern acted more like a La Nina (cold north & west / warm south & east). Once that southeast settled in during November, it has not relinquished its grip.

For reasons too complicated to understand to this weather enthusiast, I look at it as Mother Nature preventing another harsh winter in the urban corridor, because, that’s what she does!

We already had harsh winters in 3 out of the last 4 years. Snowfall was running way above average along the coastal plain.

So whatever the computer models were saying, and all the other signs that pointed to a bad winter, Mother Nature looked at this winter as a correction, to keep the averages in check. After all, Boston averages 44″ of snow per year, not 64″!

Of course there were many scientific reasons. For one, El Nino didn’t develop like I thought it was going to.

Second, the Greenland blocking never developed this winter until May, and by then it was too late. This allowed storms to track west of New England, leaving Boston vulnerable to snow changing to rain events.

Third, the QBO (Quasi Biannual Oscillation) became positive last fall, this supports a southeast ridge, preventing nor’easters from developing. This alone, should of been a warning sign to me that the winter was going to turn out different.

Circling back to the matter at hand, when is this annoying pattern going to break? Unfortunately, I do not see any signs of it breaking down anytime soon!

This means cold in the west, warm in the east. In fact, with summer approaching, the southeast ridge is beginning to flex its muscles. a large bubble of heat will begin building across the southeast this week.

While a northwest flow will cut this heat from reaching New England, areas south of New York City, into the mid Atlantic region and across the deep south is going to experience unprecedented heat for this time of the year. Some locations may reach all time record highs for the month of May!

Meanwhile, locations in Colorado and Wyoming should begin preparing themselves for a Memorial weekend snowstorm, where snow could be measured in feet!

For folks who live in between the two air masses…watch out! Clashing air masses during spring lead to destructive outbreaks of severe weather, including deadly tornado activity! How people live where frequent tornadoes occur, is beyond comprehension!

This massive heat dome is going to have to be dealt with at some point this summer. The cold air to our north can only hold back this heat here in New England for so long.

My concern is, as the summer matures, and the jet stream lifts to our north, the hot and humid air to our south will have no problem overtaking most of New England.

Could we be looking at a second hot summer in a row here in New England? Earlier, I was thinking on the cooler side. But if this pattern persists, forget about it. Warm to hot air will have no problem spreading into New England, resulting in a hotter than normal summer. My final take on these thoughts. will be written in my 2019 summer forecast, just one week from today! So check it out!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I am rating this week a 7 out of 10.

Expect a summery afternoon, with sunshine along with higher levels of humidity. High temperatures should make it into the mid 80’s…our real first taste of summer! Dew point temperatures will also be on the rise, which will make it feel quite muggy outside.

Later today, an approaching cold front will begin tracking across New England. As this cold front presses into the warm and humid air mass, the air will lift, cool & condense into rain showers.

Other factors as cold air aloft will allow these showers to develop into thunderstorms. Some of these storms may turn severe, with vivid lightning, hail, and gusty winds. There’s even an outside chance of a small tornado in some isolated locations. This activity will occur between 7 and 9 PM.

After the front passes, expect cooler and drier air to rush in across New England. Temperatures should fall into the 40’s and 50’s by daybreak. under clearing skies.

I’m liking what I see in the weather pattern this week. For the period Tuesday through Friday, expect mostly to partly sunny days, and clear and cool nights.

There will be some fast disturbances moving through. While I am not anticipating any washouts, a quick passing shower or two can not be ruled out. High temperatures should generally be in the upper 60’s to low 70’s, which about seasonable for this time of year.

For the most part, I’m liking what I see for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. While I do not see any washouts, once again, fast moving disturbances will be tracking close by, so a few showers can not be ruled out.

In addition, an oscillating jet stream will keep us close to cool air to the north, and very warm air to our south. This means temperatures can be 60’s and 70’s one day, and 70’s and even 80’s the next. Right now, I’m thinking warm on Saturday, cooler Sunday, and warm again on Memorial Day itself.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will release my 2019 summer forecast. I will also begin my beach and boating forecast. In the meantime, I hope Mother Nature makes up her mind soon, not a big fan on living on the edge!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

One Can Only Dream…5/13/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day weekend! The weather on Saturday could not of been any more spectacular. Deep blue skies, light winds, and temperatures close to 70. A top ten day to be sure!

What happened on Mother’s Day can only be described as despicable! A wave of low pressure developed along the old frontal boundary to our south.

As this low pressure passed south of New England, winds turned northeast, dropping temperatures into the low 40’s. Rain developed very early in the day, and did not let up until late last night.

That’s only half the story! Because there was unusually cold air aloft, rain actually mixed with sleet around the Boston area during the height of the storm in the afternoon. One of the latest such occurrences that I can recall!

Some friends on Facebook were commenting that hail was falling. While this was a good observation in noticing this, it was actually sleet falling. Sleet is different from hail because it falls in winter type storms. We do not get sleet in summer.

Sleet falls because there is a layer of cold air in the atmosphere about 5,000 feet up that freezes the rain into a little pellet of ice. If it’s cold enough, these ice pellets can survive the trip to earth and bounce off the surface.

Hail forms in severe or turbulent conditions in the upper atmosphere. Strong updrafts of wind drives raindrops way up into the colder atmosphere where it freezes into a ball of ice.

If it’s turbulent enough, these balls of ice can go through multiple cycles of updrafts and downdrafts, in a freeze thaw cycle. This can grow the hailstone into golf ball, baseball, or even grapefruit size! Hailstones can result in significant property damage if they grow large enough.

Typical hailstone size here in New England is pea size. However, golf ball size have been reported in rare events!

Circling back to yesterday’s atrocious weather, as one traveled or lived in elevation above 1500 ft, snow actually fell! Yes, some locations in western Massachusetts actually had to dispatch snow plows and sanders to treat slippery roads. Berkshire towns such as Blandford and Chester, Ma. received accumulating snow on Mother’s Day!

Last week, I said in my forecast that Mother’s Day could be sunny and nice. I felt bad that this did not work out! As I mentioned, we would be in between two storm systems. It just so happened that one of these storms accelerated, ruining the Mother’s Day forecast.

Timing these storm systems after 5 days is quite a challenge indeed! Weather changes quickly, and needs to be updated on a daily basis, at the very least!

While snow and sleet is a very rare occurrence along the coastal plain in May, it’s not that uncommon for it to snow in higher elevations. There have been several historic high elevation snowstorms during May in New England! Just a few years ago Mt Washington received nearly 3 ft of snow in a Mother’s Day storm!

Shortly, I will explain in my forecast that this is not the last snow event of the season for these areas. In fact, a late season nor’easter will bring widespread snow to higher elevations of northern New England tonight! Even lower elevations could see wet snow overnight and into early tomorrow morning!

While celebrating Mother’s Day with family yesterday, I noticed some family members at their breaking point! They demanded answers as to when the rain and sleet was going to go away, and more importantly, when these darn temperatures are going to warm up!!

After a somewhat milder than average April, May has gone the opposite direction, feeling more like April…or even March! All the while, it has been dreadfully grey for the most part, with rain falling on more than half of the days!

We say it all the time, but spring is the most cruel season here in New England! The Atlantic Ocean, which takes so long to cool off during autumn, also takes so long to warm up in spring. This helps to prevent real summertime warmth from arriving prematurely in much of our region.

Instead, it typically waits until the summer solstice arrives on June 20th or there about. Keep in mind, where are only at mid spring. After a long winter, some folks get very impatient, and expect summer weather to be in full swing once May hits. This is like saying sustained winter arrives in November, when we all know that hardly ever happens.

As I mentioned last week, we are under the influence of a strong Greenland block. Look for this to continue for the balance of May. While there is going to be more rain storms every 3 to 5 days, there is going to be nice days mixed in there as well.

Overall, temperatures are going to be below normal for the remainder of the month, with a few spikes of temperatures reaching the 70’s. Expect the rainy regime to continue, as well.

What implications could this have on our summer weather? Latest seasonal computer models have been released, and if you are a lover of hot and humid weather, you may want to close your eyes! As I mentioned before, I was not sold on the early calls for a very hot summer this year. While no guarantee, computer models have now flipped to a cooler, wetter summer for New England this year.

I’m not totally sold on that solution either! Right now, I’m still sticking with my idea of a average summer on the way. As I get closer to my summer forecast two weeks from today, I will hone in whether I believe this will tick a bit warmer, or possibly even a bit cooler than normal.

I will say this, it’s been very difficult to see cooler than normal summers around here over the last 10 years or so. I believe the last one we had was 2014, and then again back in 2009.

With that being said, I’m sticking to my thoughts a cooler summer than last year. Boston has not received back to back summers with 20 or more 90 degree days in recorded history. If it does happen, I would change my thoughts on climate change, as promised to my brother in law Michael.

My official summer forecast will be written for all to see just two weeks from today!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. In hindsight, last week could of been bumped up to a 7 out of 10. I will give this week 7 out of 10.

Expect cloudy and chilly weather for the rest of your Monday. With an approaching nor’easter, winds will be on the gusty side. It will be cold for this time of the year, with high temperatures only in the upper 40’s.

Rain will be approaching from the south and southwest later today. Overnight, expect stormy weather for this time of the year. Rain, heavy at times, along with fairly strong northeast winds.

Later at night, there may even be some sleet or wet snow flakes mixed in with the rain, even here in Boston. Had this storm developed quicker, and closer to the coast, we would of been looking at a late season snowstorm on our hands.

As it stands now, rain will change to heavy wet snow across much of the interior of New England, especially in areas that are greater than 1000 ft in elevation. Most locations in the Worcester Hills, north central Massachusetts, could see a coating to up to 2″ of wet snow.

As you move north into New Hampshire, especially the higher terrain of the White Mountains and western Maine, this is going to turn into a legit snowstorm, with up to 6″+ of accumulation possible. Less amounts expected in valley locations and along the Maine coast, but still, a couple inches can not be ruled out, with coatings near the coast!

As the storm slowly swirls up into the gulf of Maine Tuesday, wrap around precipitation could keep drizzle and showers around Boston for the first half of the day. Up north, snow will continue in the northern mountains of New Hampshire and western Maine…a wintry scenario up there for sure!

It will be cold and raw tomorrow, with high temperatures only in the mid 40’s! Yes, the heat will need to be turned on, along with sweaters and warm jackets!

As the storm pulls away, expect improving weather conditions beginning tomorrow evening. Skies should begin to clear, but chilly temperatures will remain, with lows mainly in the 30’s and low 40’s.

Expect improving weather conditions for the period of Wednesday through Friday. Not perfect, but more typical for this time of the year. Look for a mixture of sun and clouds, and milder temperatures.

Highs should reach close to 60 on Wednesday, and mid to upper 60’s on Thursday and Friday. There is a chance of a few showers Thursday afternoon, but a washout is not anticipated.

Earlier, I was thinking more rain for Saturday, but this system looks to pass south of our region. Therefore, I’m optimistic for sunny and warmer weather for your Saturday, with highs in the 70’s…something to look forward to!

As for Sunday, I am cautiously optimistic that the sunny and milder weather will continue, with highs once again in the 70’s. Keep in mind, the patterns can change this far out for Sunday. As we saw yesterday, things can go bad quickly. This is my best estimate at this point in time. I hope it works out!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will issue my Memorial Day weekend forecast! I will also review the latest trends for our summer forecast. In the meantime, keep dreaming my friends…summer will eventually arrive!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

*Blog photo courtesy of @EricFisher

Hello, Sunshine! 5/6/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! While not a washout, the weather this weekend was more similar to November, than early May! Saturday was cloudy and damp at times, with a few sunny breaks.

Sunday was colder, with overcast skies, and occasional light showers. The heaviest of the rain spared Boston, and fell along the south coast and Cape Cod. Overall, it was a damp and chilly day, with high temperatures barely making it to 50.

If you think the weather has been lousy as of late, you are 100% correct! While it may seem unusual, it’s actually just classic New England spring weather at its best (or worst)! It’s so true, that we typically go from winter to summer around here, seemingly overnight!

Nonetheless, folks are tired of the endless grey days, periodic rain showers, and cold winds off of the Atlantic. They want real spring weather…and they want it now!

Well, I have some good news for everyone! While not perfect, it does appear as if the sun will finally be making an appearance this week! In fact, I’m seeing the sun breaking through the clouds outside my weather bunker even as I speak! Shuffle through your glove compartment, and dust off those shades you haven’t been able to use the past couple weeks!

Is it going to last? Our we finally breaking out of the spring doldrums? The unfortunate answer to this question is not just yet! While this week will be an improvement, I do not see this awful pattern completely breaking down anytime soon.

A few friends and family members have asked me what happened to our spring, and when will this pattern break down?

These are all very good questions. I will try and give an explanation to everyone, to the best of my abilities.

You often here me talking about a phenomenon called the Greenland block. This is when high pressure (warm & dry) builds across Greenland and central Canada. When this occurs, it forces the jet stream south of New England, low pressure (cold & stormy) typically results in cold and snowy weather during the winter, and rainy and chilly weather here in the spring.

I have actually been waiting for this Greenland block to develop all winter long. Computer models kept showing that it was going to happen, but it never materialized. This was one (of many) reasons why snowfall ended up below average in Boston this past winter.

Of course, now that we’re in the middle of spring, the block came in with full force, in essence, destroying our mild spring weather we enjoyed for part of April. It’s classic Murphy’s Law here in New England!

Now for the good news. I actually believe it’s a good thing we’re receiving this Greenland blocking pattern here in May. Occasionally, this pattern develops in June, and can fowl up summer weather for us.

I believe if this pattern breaks down sometime later in May, the jet stream will lift north of New England, resuming more typical weather for our region. That will be the point when we all say, it went straight from winter to summer!

If you recall, last year, summer literally arrived on May 1st! After such a frigid April, when hardly anything blossomed, temperatures soared well up into the 80’s on May 1st. Everything blossomed within a week, and folks headed to the beach several times before Memorial Day!

We then went on to experience a much warmer than normal May, breaking a record for the number of 80 degree days we had for the month!

It just so happened, we experienced a warm May last year. This does not happen every year. May is a transition month, lining up in the seasonal shift with November.

Meteorologist and horticulturist Dave Epstein from @GrowingWisdom tweeted out a very interesting statistic, showing half our May’s our chilly, and the other half are warm. Sorry to say, this year could be a chilly one!

But does this mean a cool, wet summer is on the way? My summer forecast will be written just 3 weeks from today! At this point, it’s still hard to say for sure. The weather has been so fickle and changeable, it’s almost impossible to make a accurate seasonal forecast.

Nevertheless, seasonal computer model runs were showing another scorching summer on the way to much of the east coast, including New England. I had my doubts!

Latest computer models have trended away from the hot forecast, especially here in New England. Not so much for our friends across the Mid Atlantic region!

So are we now going cool & wet? No. I’m not going to that extent just yet. However, one must wonder whether we’re going to experience similar heat and humidity as last summer. Last summer, Boston reached or eclipsed 90 degrees a whopping 23 times!

In addition, we broke all sorts of warm weather records, including a record number of 80 degree days, the most 70 degree overnight lows, and the highest dew point levels ever recorded in history. Wow!

Boston has never recorded back to back summers with 20 or more days of 90 degree weather. Remember this statement. I’m not saying it can never happen, anything is possible in the climate we live in today! It’s just that it would be unprecedented!

I’m on record to saying, if Boston reaches 90 degrees 20 times or more again this summer, I will fully comply with my brother in law Michael’s thoughts on climate change.

As it is, I’m very grateful for Michael feeding me continuous links regarding the mounting evidence on a warming climate. While our beliefs differ, I do read the links to learn more about the evolution of climate change.

So in other words, I’m thinking still warm, just not as hot as last summer. Last summer, my forecast was on track through July. Then the wheels fell off the wagon, as Boston experienced its hottest August on record!

We are coming up on the 42 year anniversary of the great Mother’s Day snowstorm that struck much of Massachusetts, and parts of Rhode Island. It was back on May 9th, 1977 when a freak late season nor’easter blasted the state with up to 20″ of heavy wet snow in the hilly terrain of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and between 3 and 8″ around the greater Boston area.

The .5″ of snow that fell at Logan Airport still stands as the latest snowfall on record for Boston. The storm resulted in massive tree damage and power outages across the region. It can always be worse!!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10.

Watch for increasing sunshine for the rest of your Monday! With northeast winds, it will continue to be chilly along the coast, but that early May sun will make it feel so good outside!

High temperatures will make it into the upper 50’s along the coast, and lower 60’s inland. Go out for a walk, and enjoy the evening!

Expect clear and cool weather overnight, with lows falling back into the 30’s in rural areas, and 40’s in urban corridor.

Tuesday will start off with sunshine. This will allow temperatures to warm up into the upper 60’s. However, an approaching cold front will result in increasing clouds, and a band of rain showers moving in from the west. If the air becomes unstable enough, there may even be an embedded thunderstorm!

The cold front should clear the coast tomorrow night, followed by clearing and cool weather overnight. Low temperatures should mainly be in the 40’s.

Wednesday is shaping up to be a fine May day, with a mixture of sun and clouds. Once again, northeast winds will keep coastal locations in the 50’s, while inland locations warm to the lower to mid 60’s.

Fair weather should continue Wednesday evening, with lows mainly in the 40’s.

Another storm system will be approaching New England Thursday. Expect thickening clouds and rain to overspread the region during the afternoon. It will be cooler, with highs only in the 50’s, with onshore winds.

As the storm tries to track west of New England, the block will force the storm to redevelop south of New England Friday. This will continue the cool temperatures, along with periods of rain, drizzle and onshore winds. Yuck!

At this point, this storm may linger into early Saturday, however I’m fairly confident that it will be pushing east of New England during the day, resulting in clearing skies and warmer temperatures during the afternoon! If we get enough sun, temperatures could boost up into the lower 70’s, with a west wind.

It looks like we will be between two storms on Mother’s Day, so I am optimistic for mainly sunny weather for Sunday. With a northwest wind, it will be slightly cooler than Saturday, with highs mainly in the lower 60’s. Better than 42 years ago!

Well, that’s about it for now! In my next blog, I will be chatting a bit more about our summer forecast. I was off with my forecast last year, so I really want to try and get this year right! In the meantime, sometimes you have to go through the storm, before the sun shines! Enjoy!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and to all of the mom’s out there!

Thanks for reading!

Pete



Stuck In A Rut! 4/29/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! After a very rainy Friday, Saturday turned blustery, and to be honest, felt very fall like. Sunday began with sunshine, but a weak storm tracking just south of New England, brought clouds back, and light rain to many areas south of the Turnpike. With the clouds and rain, it also was quite chilly, with temperatures remaining in the 40’s.

So here we are, late April, and some folks are chirping that it’s still too cold out. You would be surprised that this April is running about 4 degrees above average! This is the exact opposite from last April, when complaints for cold were justified!

But when did all this warm weather occur? Now that’s the tricky part! No days in April have been exceptionally warm, nor exceptionally cold. Rather there was about a 10 day stretch when the temperatures were consistently above average, by about 5 to 8 degrees or so. This is true for daytime highs and night time lows.

Statistically, it will go down as a warmer than average month. In reality, you will most likely remember April being like April. Lots of rain, and bone chilling winds whipping in off the Atlantic.

As the saying goes, it could be worse! Just last year, for example, April was as grey and cold as any winter month. Temperatures consistently remained below average, and we even had some snow from time to time.

It was also 32 years ago back in 1987, that we were digging out from a very unusual late season snowstorm across the Boston area! A late season nor’easter dropped a record 4.1″ of snow at Logan Airport, making it the most ever recorded for so late in the season in Boston.

This was not the whole story. Surrounding towns received between 6 and 12″ of wet snow, with the higher terrain west and southwest of the city receiving up to 2ft of snow. Even as close by as Blue Hills received close to 1 ft of wet snow!

Overall, April can be a volatile month, featuring late season snowstorms, intense early season heat, flooding rains, and high winds. Record high temperatures this time of the year is in the 90’s! Over the years, I remember several instances when temperatures have soared into the 90’s in April. This will not be one of those years!

During Easter celebrations yesterday, some family members wanted to know when is it going to warm up, and why does it seem like it’s on the cool side more times than not around here in April?

I’ll answer the latter question first. As mentioned above, April can be a volatile month. So far, we have not seen too many extremes around here this April. Along with May, it’s a true spring month.

The one thing that influences our weather in April, is the ocean. In recent years, seasonal shifts has delayed our springs from arriving, but also has extended mild weather patterns deeper into our late fall and early winter.

Our climate here in New England, is greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Latent heating means the oceans take longer to warm up than the land mass during spring and early summer. As the land mass quickly warms, the air rises.

Displacing this air, is cool dense, marine air rushing in from the chilly ocean. This holds back warm arriving from arriving too soon in New England. And if it does arrive, it typically does not last more than a day or two.

You would be surprised to learn that our coldest ocean temperatures off Boston does not occur until mid February to mid March. And in the summer, our warmest temperatures occur from mid August to mid September. Of course, this is displaced from the winter and summer solstice by about 2 months. It takes this long for the sun to warm up the ocean in the spring, and for the temperature to cool off in the autumn.

In late fall, the opposite occurs. Because it takes so long for the ocean to cool off, our winters are delayed from arriving here in eastern New England.

There is some debate in recent years as to just how inte4nse this latent heating and cooling phenomenon is becoming. I am in the camp, as have many, that there has been a marked shift in the seasonal patterns.

Winter seems to be lingering deeper into spring, and summer deeper into fall. There’s no doubt in my mind, that this has a lot to do with the abnormally warm ocean temperatures that have developed over the last 20 years or so.

For those looking for warm springlike weather, this is not the week for you! Oddly enough, as cold as last April was, I will never forget the marked pattern change on May 1st of last year. The seasons instantly changed from winter to summer, seemingly overnight! To the delight of many, last May saw a record number of 80 degree days, with more than half the days of the month registering 80 degree + temperatures.

A very persistent pattern, beginning last November, has kept New England in the cross fire between cold air to the north, and unseasonably warm air to our south. This has kept a steady stream of storms pointing a fire hose of precipitation towards New England.

In most cases, temperatures were just too warm to result in anything but liquid to fall. This resulted in a very disappointing winter for snow lovers in much of eastern Massachusetts.

Up north, where it was just cold enough, many ski resorts reported one their best seasons ever!

You would think, now that where practically into May, that this pattern would finally give up, and retreat. However, this has not been the case this April, and now heading into May! Relentless waves of rain has made this April the greatest number of days with measurable precipitation since records began in Boston back in 1872! So far we have seen 20 days, and counting!

Veteran amateur meteorologist Anthony Siciliano took it a step further, and showed on Twitter that the period from September 1st to now, has been the wettest such period on record here in Boston! So if you think it’s been raining a lot, you’re correct!

Now, when is it going to get warm? As for sustained warm weather, I don’t see anything happening for at least the first two weeks of May. Thereafter, our oscillating jet stream, may cooperate, and push north of our region for the second half of May.

With the second half of May turning warm, it may offset the colder first half, and equal out the month as neutral. That’s what I’m going for right now. However, the trend has been warmer than normal months since December, so it could easily up slightly warmer than normal.

In between the rainstorms, the sun will shine brightly. May 1st is the start of mowing season in the Boston area. After all of this rain, keep a close eye on your lawn! Any sunshine after all this rain is going to result in a rapid growth spurt to the lawns! If the sun comes out his weekend, I would recommend having your lawn mowed, before it gets out of hand!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rank this week a 3 out of 10.

After such a beautiful start to the day, the next in the parade of storms, will begin to increase the clouds this afternoon. It was warm earlier, but clouds and winds possibly turning onshore will keep temperatures mainly in the 50’s.

Expect rain to develop later tonight, and continue into the first half of tomorrow. It will be chilly and damp, with lows mainly in the 40’s, and highs only near 50. The Red Sox should get their game in tonight against the Oakland Athletics.

Sorry to do this, but the period of Tuesday through Friday looks to feature weather more like November, than early May. Expect mainly cloudy skies, occasional rain, drizzle and mist. Temperatures look to be below normal, with highs only in the 40’s and 50’s. If we do get any peaks of sun, temperatures could briefly warm into the low 60’s…but keep the flannel wear handy!

If we’re lucky, we may get a break this weekend. As the storm pulls out, winds briefly shift offshore this weekend. If this happens, temperatures would respond back up into the upper 60’s, perhaps touching 70, along with some sunshine. Don’t get too used to it, as more rain is slated to arrive next week!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be taking a look at how long our soggy weather pattern may persist for. I will also discuss my latest thinking for our summer pattern. In the meantime, we all get stuck in a rut sometimes…even Mother Nature!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Seasonable…Wet At Times. 4/22/19

Hello! Happy Easter to all who celebrated! I hope everyone enjoyed their, weekend! While Saturday was wet at times, the complete washout that was anticipated, never really materialized. Though for sure, it was just enough rain to foul up outdoor events & activities.

Easter Sunday began on the damp side, but the sun broke through around the Boston area as anticipated, boosting temperatures up to near 70 degrees in the afternoon. All in all, not a bad Easter Sunday for all to enjoy!

After a chilly start, April has warmed up nicely across the Boston area. In fact, we are now running 4 degrees above the average for the month. This is in stark contrast to the 4 degrees below average last April!

As expected, the warm temperatures has prompted green up across the region. The first thing you may have noticed is the grass turning green. What a welcome sight after a long, grey winter!

The second thing you may of noticed is the sudden blooms of forsythia and magnolia trees. With all the rain we’ve had, the spring colors are vivid this year!

Finally, with temperatures so warm, the trees have actually begun to bloom. What was one week behind schedule, has suddenly turned into one week ahead of schedule! This is what above average temperatures will do for spring blossoms at this time of the year!

While this week looks to be on the mild side, there is no very warm weather anticipated for the rest of the month. However at this point, I don’t see any change in timing for leaf out across our area. Expect most leaves to be out in Boston by early May, and full leaf out by our average date of May 10th.

Though we have transitional seasons of spring and fall, I like to look at our climate as a 50/50 proposition. Staring May 1st is our “warm” season, which means leaves on the trees, lawn mowing, flowers and gardening. This runs to October 31st, which is a full 6 months.

We then have our “cold” season, which runs from November 1st, to April 30th, which includes winter, which runs from December through March.

There are many ways to interpret the climate, this is just one way I like to look at it around here. Of course we have spring and fall, which may be longer or shorter, depending upon the year.

You would think that we would be completely done with snow in Boston this time of the year. But this was not the case back on April 28th, 1987! On this date, Boston was hit by a slow moving late season nor’easter!

I remember that April being cold and wet. The kicker was the unseasonable snowstorm at the end of the month. While Logan Airport recorded a record 4.3″ of snow for so late in the season, many surrounding communities received between 6 and 12″ of heavy wet snow.

Further inland and in the hilly terrain, between 1 and 2 ft of snow was common! I remember leftover snowbanks lingering into the first few days of May!

I don’t anticipate any unseasonable late season snowstorms this year. The latest snow ever recorded in Boston was on May 9th, 1977, in the historic Mother’s Day snowstorm! So you never know for sure, until after that date!

I recently chatted with my friend Remy, who is a Atmospheric Science major at Cornell University, about our current weather patterns. we both agreed that the pattern has been warmer than average along the east coast, including New England, since last May.

In fact, the only below average month since last April, was last November. Every other month has since then has featured above average temperatures. Looking at the long range guidance, most data is indicating a continuation of warmer than normal weather through next fall, at least!

So this leads me to my summer preview. Based on trends, the early call for this summer is a warmer than normal summer on the way, for most of New England. Computer models are showing hotter than normal.

This is not my final call. I’m strictly going on what computer models are projecting, and we all know how that worked out on their call for a historic winter along the east coast this past year!!!! Answer…not good!

After last years much warmer to hotter than normal summer in Boston, which featured 23 days when the temperature eclipsed 90 degrees or higher, I find this outlook hard to believe.

Why? Well the average number of 90 degree days in Boston for a typical season is 14. I don’t believe the city has ever recorded two back to back summers with 20 or more 90 degree days in the history of record keeping.

I’m not saying it can’t happen. It seems as if we’ve entered a new era in our climate, where anything and everything can happen. Typically, it’s been warm weather records being broken in recent years.

If we do eclipse 90 degrees 20 times or more this summer in Boston, I would be shocked. I would even go as far as to possibly change my mind regarding the mounting evidence of a warmer climate regime here in Boston.

I’m still holding out hope that this warm period is a cycle, mainly due to the much warmer than normal ocean temperatures being recorded across the world.

I’m actually very excited to see how Mother Nature responds to our climate this summer. Will she go against what computer models are projecting, and somehow drive cooler air masses in from Canada to keep it close to normal here in New England?

Or, will the heat simply overwhelm the eastern part of the U.S. and we broil once again with either similar or even hotter weather than last summer? My final call for this summer will be posted on May 27th, only about a month away!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Somewhat unsettled, but still mild.

Expect a washout for the rest of today! Showers moving in, heavy at times, with the chance of a rumble of thunder towards evening. This is in stark contrast to the sunny and warm morning we experienced.

Rain will continue the first part of the night, then gradually come to an end overnight. It will be damp and cool, but not cold. Watch for areas of dense fog after the rain diminishes.

After a murky start, Tuesday should feature brightening skies during the afternoon. Temperatures should respond into the lower 60’s.

There may be another round of showers tomorrow night, which should end by early Wednesday morning. If we get enough sunshine later Wednesday, and I’m planning on it, temperatures should warm up to near 70.

No rain is anticipated for Wednesday night and Thursday. Lows should only drop into the 50’s Wednesday night, and warm back up into the 60’s on Thursday, with possible sea breezes keeping it cooler along the coast.

While Friday may start dry, another fast moving storm will be approaching New England from the southwest. This will bring increasing clouds during the day, with rain arriving towards evening, and lasting into the first half of Saturday.

Right now, if timing works out, this system should clear the coast so that Sunday would be the better of the two weekend days, with mainly sunny skies, and temperatures in the upper 60’s, or even low 70’s.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my April review, and May preview! Hard to believe how fast time is going! I will also let you know if I have any new information regarding our summer forecast! In the meantime, seasonable is nice this time of year, if we could just get rid of this darn, rain!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Happy Easter to all Eastern Orthodox Christians, this Sunday!


We’re At The Finish Line! 4/15/19

Hello! Happy Tax Day & Happy Patriots Day! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! Saturday started off damp, but then turned sunny and warm, with temperatures soaring into the 70’s region wide for the first time this spring!

Sunday was the exact opposite, starting off sunny and warm, but turning cloudy and cooler later in the day. Nonetheless, it was generally a warm and dry weekend for many, here in mid April.

This is in stark contrast to last April. It was snowing in Boston one year ago today. You would of thought the weather would of improved the next day for the Boston Marathon, but this was not the case.

An unusually strong nor’easter for this time of the year, delivered icy sleet early in the morning, which then transitioned to a wind driven cold rain, with ferocious northeast winds. It was by far one of the worst weather conditions in history for the Boston Marathon.

That was last year, what about today? Well, if you were up early, you may of heard thunder, and heard the rain pelting against your windows. Many may of said, here we go again!

But if you stepped outside, the first thing you would of noticed was that it felt more like May! With the warm front lifting north of our area, temperatures warmed up to near 60 early today. In fact, some runners were complaining that it was a bit too warm for there liking.

Last week at this time, computer models were portraying a much more precarious scenario. As I always say, I call it as I see it. Last Monday, the models were predicting a storm to develop across the lower Tennessee Valley, then track northeast just south of New England.

As it turned out, computer guidance kept shifting the storm track further and further to the north and west of the Boston area. With this track, most of southern New England entered into the warm sector of the storm, with southerly winds.

The folks who manage and run the Boston Marathon could not of asked for a better scenario! After some brief early morning downpours, we have now fully entered the warm sector of the storm. Not only does the rain typically shut off when this happens, but we now have breaks of sun poking through the clouds!

The one unfortunate outcome, is that temperatures are warming well up into the 60’s. As the trailing cold front crosses the region later today, there may be some additional brief downpours and squally winds.

After the cold front clears the coast, winds are going to shift westerly, and drive a strong tailwind towards Boston from Hopkinton. For many runners, this may come a little too late, as many of the runners would of finished the marathon by then. Still, there may be a group of runners who may benefit from the last second push from Mother Nature!

Had this storm taken the southern route, and tracked south of New England, this would of been a much different outcome! First, with the center tracking south of New England, there would not of been any warm sector punching into the region.

We would of been socked in with gusty northeasterly winds, and a wind driven rain at that. Similar to last year. However, adding to the misery, there undoubtedly would of been at least some early morning wet snow mixed in, if not all wet snow greeting the runners in Hopkinton.

Additional snow would of mixed in with the rain as the runners headed towards Boston. The difference was that it was colder aloft with this storm, which would of supported wet snow to fall, with the intensity of the storm.

And so it goes here in April. What once looked like a good spring snowstorm, quickly trended to a warmer solution with thunder and lightning to boot!

Several friends and family members have been asking me whether winter is over. Along with many of the runners today in the marathon, I am very confident to say, yes! You too have made it through the marathon called winter! I’m very confident that there will be no more accumulating snow here in Boston this season.

Is it still possible to see some wet snow in the air? Yes. It’s still possible until the end of April. In a rare storm, Boston received a record 4.2″ of snow with up to a 21″ in the suburbs back on April 28th, 1987. In a storm even more rare, Boston received a half inch of snow with 7 to 12″ in the suburbs on May 9th, 1977! These storms were the exceptions, not the rule!

I for one will not shed any tears seeing this winter go buh, bye! After years of on point seasonal forecasts, I have now misfired on both the summer and now winter forecast for Boston.

As I mentioned last week, you will not be hearing too many folks complaining of a hotter summer than planned, and a milder winter than what I had thought, be wrong! This actually works out just right for the majority of folks out there!

There’s no sugarcoating it. The forecast grade for the winter….drum roll please…..F!!!! Failure. Go home and find another hobby! Okay, that maybe taking it too far, but I can’t tell you how very disappointed I was with the winter forecast. I really felt terrible for followers who were expecting a lot more.

To set the record straight, my forecast called for between 80 and 90″ of snow in Boston this winter…only 27.4″ actually fell at Logan Airport. The yearly average is approximately 44″.

However, this was not the full story. For one reason or another, there was a rather large disparity between Logan and areas just inland this winter.

For instance, I officially measured 41.3″ where I live in West Roxbury, which is only about 8 miles away from the airport. Amounts were fairly similar in the metropolitan area, with some inland locations reporting up to 50″. Even Worcester recorded a rare below average winter for snowfall.

It wasn’t until you got north and west of Manchester N.H. especially up in the mountains, where real winter hit, and snowfall was deep. Caribou Maine for example, received 164.7″ of snow this winter, their third snowiest winter on record!

Not to get into all the details, but everything turned out the exact opposite of what I was thinking. Even though seasonal computer model runs were off by about 1000 miles with their data, it was my trusty winter forecast formula that I have used for the past 10 years that ultimately did me in!

The only source of comfort, was that I was not alone in my winter prognostications. Other than one or two “geniuses” out there, we all went down in the ship together, pros and amateurs alike!

It’s too complex to pinpoint one particular reason as to what happened. While it was basically a non winter from Boston to D.C., it was a whole different story about 200 miles to the north and west of the coastal plain.

Beyond that, whole homes were being buried due to repetitive heavy snowfalls. Some ski resorts in northern New England and southern Canada are planning to stay open until early June this year, due to deep bases amassed from this winter snowfall.

As WBZ meteorologist Eric Fisher said, “it was a hills and mountains type of winter.” He also mentioned that Boston was due for a dud winter. Five out of the last six winters in Boston featured well above average snowfall. And the one that wasn’t, was not off by too much.

Still, this brings me little comfort. If I were to do another winter forecast, I will have to evaluate my whole thought process, and see if it’s worth placing my neck on the line like that, again.

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Typical spring weather.

Expect another round of showers this afternoon. After this goes by, winds will shift to the west, and become gusty. This is the cold front pressing through the area. Watch the humidity levels and temperatures drop later today, as cooler and drier air works into the region.

Tonight will feature clearing skies under windy conditions. Though not cold, the brisk wind will make it feel chillier than what it actually is. Lows will only drop into the 40’s.

Look for similar weather conditions for the period Tuesday through Thursday. It should be mainly on the dry side with times of sun mixed with some puffy cumulus clouds. Expect high temperatures in the upper 50’s and very low 60’s, and lows in the 30’s across suburban area, and lower 40’s in the cities.

Another low pressure area will track west of New England come Friday and Saturday. This will lead to inclement weather across the region. Watch for a chance of showers with somewhat humid conditions on Friday, with highs in the mid to upper 60’s. Then as the front slowly pushes through the region on Saturday, we could be looking at a total washout with rain, heavy at times.

If this front clears the coast in time, Easter Sunday could turn sunny and on the warm side, with highs in the lower 70’s! I hope that works out for those celebrating Easter this Sunday!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be discussing some of reasons as to what happened to my winter forecast. I feel that some sort of an explanation is till in order. I will also have my sneak peek into our summer forecast! In the meantime, time to celebrate, you made it to the finish line!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Happy Easter, to those who celebrate this Sunday!~

We’re Almost There! 4/8/19

Hello, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, it was a glorious spring weekend, weather wise. After a bit of a wintry mix and rain Friday evening, Saturday cleared out and turned into a gorgeous spring day! Sunday was not as bright, but still featured very mild temperatures.

Overnight, the wind shifted to the northeast, bringing colder weather back into the Boston area, along with a miserable cold rain. In fact, it was so cold, it is actually snowing across parts of New Hampshire, and most of Maine today!

This is why I say this time of year, it’s two steps forward, and one step back. We’re getting close, but not quite there just yet!

Well, I guess the April Fools’ joke was on me last week! Fortunately for many, my forecast for snow last Wednesday morning did not materialize. In fact, the sun was out by 10 AM, and a beautiful day followed suite. surprise to me.

Though I was never forecasting any big accumulations, I was still very disappointed at the defiance of Mother Nature cooperating with the forecast.

A last second shift in the track, and I mean a very last second shift, spared the Boston area a 1 to 3″ snowfall that morning. This was still just the outer fringes of the massive cyclone that rapidly intensified just southeast of Cape Cod.

Had this storm tracked 75 miles closer to the coast, we would of been blasted blasted with a severe spring nor’easter.

As it was, computer models had the storm coming just close enough to give Boston a glancing blow, Wednesday morning. Short range computer models did a horrible job handling this storm.

They held on to possible snow as late as Tuesday evening. It wasn’t until close to midnight when I started to see signs of a shift east. By this time, it was too late to change my forecast. Another bust was incoming, and I could do nothing to change it!

As this event quickly fizzled, I watched the sun begin breaking through the clouds as early as 9 AM. As I mentioned above, a last second shift of 50 miles, made all the difference.

So once again, Mother Nature showed us who’s in charge around here. It got me thinking about forecasting the weather these days.

It has become more and more apparent to me, that computer models are becoming less reliable. Either there’s just too much information out there to digest, or the weather is just becoming more complicated.

I noticed this change about 5 or 6 years ago. The dilemma with each storm of computer models not in agreement with one another. Or, such as this case, a last second shift leaving meteorologists and forecasters looking like fools.

It has gotten to the point when now casting, meaning giving constant updates on the storm is the better way to go. The weather changes so quickly, you need to update it at least every three hours or so, just to be in the ballgame.

As far monthly & seasonal forecasts go, well that’s a whole different matter, altogether. Maybe it’s just me? I had a streak of being pretty much on point with my seasonal forecasts for years.

That all changed last summer, when my “cooler” than normal summer suddenly turned into one of the hottest summers on record for the Boston area.

Everything was going according to schedule up until July 1st. At that point, all hell broke loose, and the summer just kept getting hotter and hotter.

I chalked it up to unforeseen conditions, apologized for the miscalculation, and moved onto the winter forecast.

On a positive note, most folks don’t mind when my forecast was off for a cooler summer, or as in this winters case, for a lot of snow. I’m sure I would of received some complaints had it been the opposite!

This all sounds like a perfect cue to explain what went wrong with the winter forecast. But because I wait until the last flake fall to summarize the forecast, it will have to wait for another week or two. Though small, there’s still a slight chance of a small accumulation over the next week.

This leads me into the April forecast. Once again, computer models are all over the place. Flip flopping between warm and cold, stormy and dry.

What once looked like a very warm April, is now on shaky ground. You may say, Pete, we’ve already had some warm days here in April, so the warm idea has merit.

I will agree with you on that…at least here in southern New England. The huge disparity between the weather in northern New England, and down here in southern New England this winter continues now into the spring.

Repetitive snowfalls, and colder temperatures continue to keep much of northern New England in winters icy grip, now here in April. If the cool, snowy pattern continues, some places will be skiing into Memorial Day!

There has been some warm days, but there has been no sustained warmth to speak of as of yet. We continue to be on the battleground between cold air to our north, and warm air across the southeastern part of the United Sates.

Out west, forget it. The Sierra mountain range in California has received over 50 ft of snow this winter, and the Midwest is preparing for yet another powerhouse blizzard this week, which may bring record snows to Minnesota!

It appears as if northern New England has been entrenched more on the colder and snowier side, while here in southern New England we’ve been caught somewhere in the middle.

This, by the way, lines up more with a La Niña pattern, than an El Niño which is what we’re supposed to be in right now. But that’s another story for another time!

So is spring ever going to arrive in full earnest? Yes, but it’s going to take some time. Green up is running about one week behind schedule here in Boston, at this time. In many respects, it still looks like the dead of winter out there.

However, it won’t be long now! Once we hit April 10th, the solar radiation becomes so strong, that you will notice the grass beginning to turn green. I can see the forsythia are beginning to bloom, so that’s a good sign!

Last frost in the city of Boston averages around April 10th, but not for another month in the suburbs. Trees should begin to bloom the last 10 days of April, with full leaf out in Boston by May 10th. If you live in northern New England, you can add close to one month to these dates! Especially this year!

Now for the dilemma of the day! We are caught in no mans land, a meteorological wasteland of sorts. Caught in between gardening season about to start up, camping and hiking season, and full fledged ski season continuing up north!

The growing season has not arrived in much of Massachusetts. It’s too wet for camping. So I say bring back another ski report! Why not?

If you plan on doing some spring skiing, I would rate this week a 9 out of 10. Many resorts that are still open, still have deep snow on the slopes.

In fact, many resorts in New Hampshire, and especially Maine will be receiving between 6 and 12″ today and tomorrow! A rebound in temperatures later in the week will mean some fine spring skiing, under comfortable conditions. It has to end sometime…maybe in May?

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will give this week a 6 out of 10.

Expect cloudy and damp conditions for the rest of your Monday. Northeast winds will continue to funnel chilly weather in from the ocean, with highs remaining in the low 40’s.

Don’t expect much change overnight, as clouds and drizzle persisting, along with chilly temperatures. It won’t be cold, but with the wind coming in off the ocean, temperatures will be raw, mainly in the 30’s and low 40’s.

Tuesday will be a typical spring day here in eastern New England. While it’s only in the low 40’s here in Boston, temperatures may be in the 70’s in southwest Connecticut and New York. Ouch!! So close, yet so far away.

Why such a big difference? It all has to do with the wind direction. Onshore winds here in Boston will keep us in the low 40’s. If you plan on going to Fenway for opening day, bring a warm jacket! There also may be some drizzle, fog, and light rain showers at any point.

Cold and damp conditions will persist tomorrow night. As another low passes south of New England, more showers may develop later at night and continue into Wednesday.

In fact, it may be so cold on Wednesday, there could be a few wet snow flakes early in the morning. High temperatures will only be in the lower 40’s.

The weather Thursday through Saturday will improve, with sunnier days. In fact, we may see a warming trend through the period for Friday and Saturday. Highs should make it into the 50’s Thursday, close to 60 Friday, and possibly close to 70 Saturday.

However, things may change thereafter. Depending on where a block develops over Greenland, will determine what happens on Marathon Monday.

A storm will be developing in the lower Tennessee Valley. This storm will then begin to track northeast towards New England. This could end up being just awful timing.

In the meantime, strong high pressure will be building across southeast Canada. On the weather maps, this looks like a mid winter scenario.

If this storm tracks south of New England, and comes close enough, it could result in a late season surprise!

What do I mean by that? Well, with cold air filtering down from the north, it’s conceivable that it may be cold enough for wet snow to fall in parts of Massachusetts next Monday.

It’s too early to get into details at this point, the storm may also pass too far to our south and miss us altogether. I just wanted to make everyone aware that there is a potential for a storm next Monday, and it could be cold enough for wet snow. I will monitor closely through the week!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be taking a look to see if there is any sustained spring weather in our future. I will also either have my winter review, or take a sneak peek into our summer forecast. In the meantime, we are much closer to spring than we are to winter, if that makes you feel any better!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

No Joke…Snow Wednesday! 4/1/19

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful, weekend! Saturday began with a chill to the air, but warmer winds took over during the afternoon, boosting temperatures well up into the 60’s. The mild weather continued Saturday night, with lows remaining in the 50’s!

This led to a very warm launching pad for Sunday. With bright sunshine in the morning. With a gusty south wind, temperatures soared to 70 degrees in Boston for the first time since November 2nd of last year!

I hope everyone got out and enjoyed the early spring morning. Things changed quite rapidly during the afternoon, as dark clouds rolled in, eventually leading to rain showers across much of the region. After the rain stopped, colder temperatures swept back into New England.

In fact, temperatures today will be some 25 degrees colder than yesterday! And if you thought we were done with sub freezing temperatures for the season, think again! Temperatures are going to fall into the 20’s region wide, tonight!

I’m not surprised about the early spring chilly temperatures. I always said, it’s two steps forward, one step back getting to spring, here in New England.

Overall, April is a month when we truly begin to transition into spring around here. For one, the grass begins to turn green, flowers begin to bloom, and trees begin flowering towards the end of the month, depending on how warm it becomes.

This is not always the case! Last year, April was cold, and spring was severely delayed until May. When it arrived, we simply skipped right over spring, and went right into summer!

April is still a transition month. In the seasonal calendar, April matches up with October as we head towards winter. The same as we can have warm weather in October, we can also experience cold in April…case and point this morning!

We can also experience SNOW in April! Logan Airport averages 1.5″ of snow in April. This is deceiving. Some years, we hardly see any snow in April. However, once in about every 5 years or so, Boston experiences a legit snowstorm.

Who could ever forget the Great April Fools’ Blizzard, on this date, back in 1997? Wow, what a storm! I vividly remember just a couple days before the storm on Sunday, March 30th, being sunny & warm, with temperatures in the mid 60’s. Folks were out enjoying their Easter Sunday.

Things changed rapidly the next day, as a cold front slipped through the area, dropping temperatures some 30 degrees.

At the same time, a very intense area of vorticity (atmospheric energy/spin) was charging down through Ontario towards the mid Atlantic region. This bundle of energy captured a surface low off the New Jersey coast, and the storm just exploded! Because it got captured in the upper atmosphere, the storm stalled, and slowly meandered south of Cape Cod.

The cold air in the upper atmosphere was the key in triggering the intense snowfall here in Boston. The storm was in the perfect spot to absolutely clobber the Boston area with between 2 and 3 ft of heavy wet cement like snow! I measured 28″ of snow here in West Roxbury. Ranking this the second largest storm, only behind the Blizzard of ’78! Some communities just to the southwest of here received up to 3 ft of snow!

One thing that I will never forget about this storm was the relentless thunder and lightning which accommodated the blizzard conditions during the height of the storm! During this period, Boston accumulated snow at the rate of 3 to 4″ per hour for 4 straight hours!

Needless to say, this was an April Fools’ joke of historic proportions, that only Mother Nature could pull off! Nobody could believe what had happened when they looked out the window Tuesday morning!

I can’t believe that 22 years have gone by! I remember there was no snow in April for 6 straight years after that storm. Then not much more after that for many more years.

However, I have noticed an uptick in April snows once again in recent years. A few years ago, Boston received back to back snowfalls in early April. Just last year, it snowed several times in Boston, with the last flakes falling as late as April 19th.

This April looks quite interesting to me. Building heat to the southwest of New England is going to try and push its way towards the north and east into New England. At the same time, a Greenland block may finally develop, which will tend to mute the early season heat here in New England.

I’m actually expecting April to average above normal this year, but how we get there may be an adventure in itself! The first twenty days of April may feature wild swings in temperatures, ranging from way above normal, to way below. Thereafter, the warm weather should finally become established the last 10 days of the month.

Are we done with snow? While it becomes more difficult for it to snow and accumulate here in Boston during April, I can not wave the all clear sign just yet. As mentioned above, we have had many memorable snowstorms in the first 10 days of April. It has even snowed as late as May 9th, back in 1977 around Boston! Don’t put the shovels away just yet!

It’s possible, some may see wet snow in the air as early as this Wednesday! A rapidly developing ocean storm will pass to the southeast of Cape Cod on Wednesday, lashing the coast with gusty winds, rain and even some wet snow mixed in.

My goodness, this is way too close for comfort! Had this storm tracked 100 miles further west, we would be looking at quite a nor’easter, with storm force winds and heavy wet snow! I will monitor just in case!

How did March turn out? Well, believe it or not, March will go in the books with slightly above average temperatures in Boston. It certainly didn’t seem like it after the cold first half of the month. Well above average temperatures at the end of the month certainly tipped the scale to the plus side.

After the heavy snow the first 4 days of the month, the rest of the month featured very little additional snowfall. Nonetheless, Boston finished with above average snow for the third straight March. Overall, it was a drier than normal month across much of the six state region.

Cold temperatures and a big mid month snowstorm kept the ski resorts very happy throughout March. In fact, you can still find excellent ski conditions at some of the resorts that are still open! My reports are finished for the year, but if I would to rank this week, I would give it a 7 out of 10!

Now for your weekly outdoor camping and hiking activity forecast. Expect chilly to cold weather this week, with a chance of wet snow in Maine on Wednesday, then another chance of snow Friday night and Saturday morning across much of northern New England! Sounds like you should bring the skis, and leave the hiking boots at home for now!

Time for your weekly outdoor activity planner. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Chilly, and unsettled at times.

Watch for sunny skies for the rest of your Monday. The strong April sun will make it feel warmer than what it is. Temperatures will struggle into the lower 40’s but the wind will make it feel colder.

Expect clear and cold weather overnight. Most suburban towns will drop into the 20’s, with even Boston dropping to 32 degrees.

Tuesday will feature sunshine for the first part of the day. However, you will notice an increase in high clouds during the afternoon. With a lighter wind, it will feel more comfortable, with highs near 50.

The storm mentioned above will begin intensifying to our south, then track southeast of Cape Cod during Wednesday morning. As it looks right now, the brunt of this storm is going to barely miss us to the south and east. However, it still is going to track close enough to us to bring a period of rain and wind for the first part of Wednesday.

As mentioned above, if it comes down hard enough, there may even be some wet snow in the air, especially to the west of Boston in the higher terrain. I can not rule out wet snow falling in and around Boston as well!

If the storm decides to track slightly closer to the coast, then we could see heavy rain, strong winds changing to heavy wet snow across the Boston area. I’m not calling for that right now, but definitely something to monitor over the the next 24 hours.

Very latest computer models have actually shifted the storm slightly even more to the west. If this verifies, rain will change to a period of heavy wet snow, even in Boston! Because it will be falling during the day, roads should remain just wet, but I can’t rule out some small accumulations on grassy areas, trees and car tops!

Because Cape Cod will be closer to the storm out at sea, residents down there can expect a stormy Wednesday, with strong northeast winds, and a windswept rain of between 1 and 2″.

Another area to watch is down east Maine, say from Portland on up the coast, for wet snow and strong winds. Very tricky call, please monitor latest forecast up in that region, for latest watches and warnings.

Whatever happens around Boston, expect late day clearing on Wednesday, with temperatures boosting up into the mid to upper 50’s after the sun comes out! Gotta love New England!

Expect fair and chilly weather Wednesday night, with lows mainly in the 20’s in rural areas, and 30’s across the urban corridor.

Thursday is looking like a fine day, with ample sunshine and near seasonal temperatures. After a chilly start, it should warm up into the lower 50’s during the afternoon.

Sea breezes will keep it chilly on Friday. In addition, clouds will be on the increase during the day. A storm system will be approaching from the southwest, and may begin to spread rain into the region late in the day and at night. With the chilly temperatures in place, I can’t rule out some wet snow across the interior, and especially up across northern New England.

Saturday may begin damp and cool, but skies should begin to clear during the afternoon. If this does indeed happen, temperatures will boost up into the mid 50’s, under the warm April sun.

Right now, Sunday is looking like the better of the two weekend days, with plenty of sun, and temperatures warming up to near 60. A sea breeze along the coast will keep temperatures closer to 50 in those locations.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have an update on our spring table, and when we should expect green up across the region. I will also have your new outdoor planner forecast. In the meantime, whatever snow falls on Wednesday morning, will be gone by the afternoon…and that’s no joke!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

March: Out Like A Lamb! 3/25/19

Hello! Happy spring! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Saturday began a bit on the wintry side, with many of us waking up to a picturesque coating of snow! The rest of Saturday was blustery and chilly, but the strong March sun went to work to melt the snow fairly rapidly.

This was a good thing, as West Roxbury residents and kids celebrated the 11th annual Shamrock Shootout on historic Temple Street on Saturday.

This is a street hockey tournament coordinated by local resident Mike O’Brien that brings together families, vendors and even politicians. I heard that Governor Baker was in attendance!

I was disappointed that I could not attend the event. Not that I missed the governor, but that I missed treating myself to Nona’s homemade ice cream!

If you haven’t had the pleasure, I recommend taking a drive down to beautiful scenic Scituate Harbor and treating yourself to a delicious homemade ice cream, owned and operated by one of my best friends Tom Donahue and his wife Chrissy.

Sunday was a very pleasant day. After a chilly start. temperatures warmed up to near or just over 60 degrees, making it a wonderful afternoon to take a walk in the park or by the ocean!

As has been the case all winter long, the storm that brought rain to much of eastern Massachusetts on Friday, delivered lots of heavy wet snow to many ski resorts in all three northern New England states. In fact, many resorts measured snow anywhere between 15 and 30″!

Wow! What a winter it has been up north! It basically began way back in October, and has been going strong, since! Other than some parts of northern Maine, I wouldn’t call it a record season. Just a good old fashioned northern New England winter, with repetitive snowstorms, and no nuclear meltdown to speak of.

It’s quite amazing the disparity between the mountains and coastal regions this winter. Typically, when the mountains see so much snow, the coast often sees its share later in the season, to try and balance off the difference.

I’m not going to get into the horrid details of this past winter just yet. I will to wait until I’m sure the threat of snow is done for the season. It’s still just too early to sign the all clear siren! Snow has accumulated in Boston as late as May 9th, 1977!

Boston has also seen some late season surprises in recent years, as well! Just 3 years ago, back to back storms at the start of April, delivered 3″ in one storm, then 6″ of powder the very next day!

And who could ever forget the infamous April Fools’ Blizzard, back in 1997! The blizzard actually began on March 31st, and continued into April 1st, bringing high winds, thunder, lightning and between 2 and 3 ft of heavy wet to the Boston region. It was a severe storm that I will soon never forget!

Before then, Boston saw an unusual late season nor’easter back on April 28th 1987, when between 4 and 6″ accumulated in the city, but between 1 and 2 ft in the suburbs! I remember leftover snowbanks lingering into the start of May. Wow!

So this begs the question, are we finished with the white stuff this winter? Looking at past history, I wouldn’t quite put away the snow shovels just yet! While most of April looks warm, there’s always that chance of one more wintry event during the first 10 days of the month. Up north, I’m fully expecting at least one more snow event, which is fairly typical.

Overall, April is looking like it wants to be a warmer than normal month this year. As mentioned above, there may be one or two brief cool downs during the first 10 the days of the month, but then warm weather looks like it wants to take over. Could this actually mean that a “normal” spring is on the way this year?

Yes, I believe this April is going to be much warmer than last year, which will prompt flowers, grass and trees to begin to bloom on time for a change!

Though I said to myself that I would boycott viewing long range outlooks, I couldn’t help taking a sneak peek into our upcoming summer. Take it for what it’s worth, but many computer models are forecasting a hotter than normal summer this year…again!!

Just a word of caution, these are the same computer models that were showing a record cold & snowy winter for the east coast this past winter. We all know how that turned out!

Though the past two seasonal forecasts have busted, I will continue to move on! Nobody is perfect in this field. I can honestly say I did my very best, in what turned out to be unforeseen circumstances in the weather patterns!

Therefore, I will have my summer forecast on May 27th this year! I will have my winter review as to what went wrong, and overall grade around the middle of April. Better get the red pen out for that one!

We have all heard of the expression for March “comes in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb?” While this may not be true in some years, there may not be any better example of this than this year!

Remember how March began? Boston received it’s largest snowstorm of the season on March 4th, with between 12 and 16″ falling across the city! Cold winds kept us in the ice box until just about last week!

While we will have a couple unseasonably cold days this week, the weather towards the end of this week and to end March looks very lamb like!

It will be spring fever around these parts come Friday and Saturday! It’s not out of the question that many communities see their first 70 degree reading of the season!

Sadly, it’s time for our last ski and snow mobile forecast of the season! This is not to say all ski resorts are closing, some larger resorts try and stay open well into May! Many resorts are still reporting 5 foot bases, so this is going to take quite a bit of time to wind down. Overall, I would rate this season a solid 9 out of 10!

However, with April a week away, it’s time to start turning our attention to other outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and gardening.

Nonetheless, with this past weekends early spring storm, conditions could not be any better! In fact, with the warmer March sun, this can be some the best skiing of the season!

I will rate this week an 8 out of 10. Expect fairly dry conditions up north this week. It will be cold through Wednesday, then moderate to above normal temperatures later Thursday through Saturday, only to cool off again by next Sunday. As I mentioned, I don’t see much in the way of precipitation until perhaps Sunday, when there could be a chance of rain or snow.

Now for our weekly spring outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week an 8 out of 10 around here! Spring fever grips the region later this week!

Expect deep blue skies and brilliant late March sun for the rest of your day. Because the sunset is now after 7, you can still get out and enjoy a early evening walk in daylight! If you do, bring a jacket, as temperatures will be cooling off later today.

Tonight will feature clear and winter like cold temperatures! This may be the real last cold night of the season for Boston? Look for temperatures to fall into the tees in rural areas, and 20’s in the city.

Expect a cold start to your Tuesday. However, with the strong late March sun, expect temperatures to warm up close to 40 degrees during the afternoon. Still, this is a full 10 degrees below average for this date.

While still cold Tuesday night, it will not be as cold as tonight. Low temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than tonight, under clear skies.

The warm up will begin on Wednesday, where many locations will be pushing 50 degrees. However, a light onshore wind during the afternoon, will keep coastal communities holding in the low 40’s.

Watch for the dry weather to continue into Thursday, with even warmer temperatures. Under mainly sunny skies, temperatures should push into the mid 50’s.

As a high pressure area moves off the coast on Friday, winds will turn into the southwest. This wind direction will help transport spring fever into our region. Expect a brisk wind warm wind, with temperatures moving well up into mid to upper 60’s, perhaps even flirting with 70 degrees in some communities away from the coast.

Temperatures are looking a bit tricky for this weekend. While Saturday may start off warm, a back door cold front could switch winds into the northeast and chill the coast off back to the upper 40’s during the day.

A storm moving through the region on Sunday could bring showers and cooler weather here in southern New England, and a period of rain or snow showers up in the mountains. I wouldn’t cancel any plans at this point, as this forecast is subject to change!

The first day of April may be on the chilly side, but signs are pointing to e warmer temperatures invading New England sometime later next week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have your April outlook, and review how March turned out. I will also have a revised spring outlook for April and May.

Also, look for a new outdoor camping and hiking segment, as we turn the corner to spring! In the meantime, fingers crossed for no April Fools surprises this year!

Thanks for reading!

~Happy Greek Independence Day!~

Pete


Hello, Spring! 3/18/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, it was a very pleasant late winters weekend. After a very warm and springlike Friday, Saturday featured mainly sunny weather, but a gusty wind brought a distinct chill to the air, especially compared to Friday.

Sunday was a classic late winters day here in New England. While snow showers were prevalent up in the mountains, the coastal plain enjoyed bright sunshine amidst passing decorative cumulus clouds. It was brisk and cold, with high temperatures only in the mid to upper 30’s.

I hope everyone enjoyed their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! Though it was a bit cold, it’s better than battling the snowy conditions Boston has had in recent years around this holiday.

It is almost with tradition, Boston either has the threat of snow, or actual snowfall on or around St. Patrick’s Day. I remember growing up, I could always count on one last snowstorm around this time of year. Kind of like winters send off, before spring takes over.

How did I spend my St. Patrick’s Day? Well, I decided to head to one of my favorite spots in New England, Nubble Lighthouse up in York, Maine. There’s something about that spot, that makes me feel so grateful to call New England my home!

Perhaps its the rugged Maine coastline, or the little red shed that sits behind the lighthouse? Or maybe it’s the fresh air, as I gaze out into the open Atlantic Ocean?

Whatever it may be, it’s cold out there! I was so happy I brought my winter coat, hat and gloves! With air temperatures only in the mid 30’s, a strong wind made it feel like it was in the teens with the wind chill!

If you don’t like to brave the elements, I would recommend visiting during calmer summer months, say June through September. While inland areas bake in summer heat, you will always find a refreshing breeze off the ocean, making it 10 to 15 degrees cooler there.

I have yet to be there during a major storm. My sister Pam and brother in law Michael have been, and said it’s wild! I can only imagine the massive waves crashing into the rocks, while ferocious winds batter the coastline!

Whoever visits from out of state, I always try and bring them up to York, Maine. I remember bringing my first cousin April there a couple summers ago, and she too fell in love with the spot. It’s a New England landmark!

Well, I believe congratulations are in order! We have made it through another long New England winter! Come Wednesday, at approximately 5:58 PM, spring officially arrives! On this day, both day and night will share equal time. At this point moving forward, the days will continue to lengthen, until we reach the summer solstice around June 20th.

I know all about the running joke around here…we don’t have a spring! Typically, we go from winter straight to summer, and skip spring. I would like to say that this is only a joke, and that’s not the way it really happens, but the sad realty, it’s predominately true!

Last year was a perfect example. After a volatile winter, with massive temperature swings from record cold to record warmth, we settled into a persistent colder than average pattern for March and all of April.

When May arrived, we skipped spring, and went right into summer weather! We had no spring.

After this winters seasonal forecast debacle, I’m very hesitant to make another seasonal forecast so soon. The wound is still fresh.

You can no longer rely on long range computer models for guidance. They have been just flat out wrong. Even to this point, long range models are showing a very warm April coming, while medium range models are showing otherwise. Very shaky.

But what does this exactly mean? Many want to know if we’re done with snow! Most folks can deal with a late season chill, they just don’t want to see any more of the white stuff!

The short answer to this question, is no. I don’t believe we have seen the last of snow. In more cases than not, we are still vulnerable for a bit more accumulating snow.

Computer models continue to show threats for snow and wintry weather right into the beginning of April. Not only that, but my intuition tells me that we are due for some kind of major spring snowstorm. The last real big one we had was way back 22 years ago, on April 1st, 1997.

My preseason winter forecast may not have worked out that well, but it still shows plenty of room left for accumulating snow according to my seasonal snowfall forecast.

Does this mean it has to happen? No, there’s an equal chance that winter is over, and we’re moving on to spring. If I’m sounding a bit wishy washy, I apologize. This is a extremely difficult time of year, as the seasons are in transition.

The bottom line, the pattern still looks volatile to me, at least through April 10th. Thereafter, I believe spring will slowly overtake New England in a more typical fashion, compared to last year.

What does a typical spring timetable look like around here? As mentioned above, sometimes it’s a real struggle! The further north and east you are in New England, the slower the process.

March is typically still a winter month around here. However, with the warming sun, crocuses are the first signs of spring. Later in the month, forsythia may begin to bloom. Most other flowers do not bloom yet, as there’s always a chance of a late season freeze or heavy snowfall.

April is the month when the show really gets going! If we get enough sun, most flowers begin to bloom. In Boston and along the coast, the final threat of a freeze is around the middle of April. For the interior of New England, this is about one month later.

You will notice the grass coming alive and turn green around April 10th. Depending on the year, trees begin to bloom the last 10 days of the month along the coast, but leaves generally wait until May to blossom. Last year, most trees remained dormant until the first week of May!

Now for your weekly ski and snow mobile forecast. I will rate this week a 8 out of 10. Not much natural snowfall lately, but conditions are holding steady, despite the warm weather at the end of last week. This week looks colder.

There’s even the threat of natural snow later this week. It could be heavy, so check with latest forecast if you plan on driving up north. Temperatures look very comfortable for skiing, with highs generally in the 30’s and low 40’s.

Now for our local outdoor winter/spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect dry and chilly weather for today and tomorrow. While daytime highs will reach the lower 40’s, overnight temperatures will fall into the 20’s.

Expect the nicest day of the week to be Wednesday, which is also the first day of spring. Happy Spring! Look for a decent amount of sun, with temperatures mainly in the 50’s!

Also look for the full “Worm Moon” Wednesday night! Because the moon will be closer than normal to us, and will fall on the day of the equinox, expect higher than normal tides.

Latest computer models have suddenly developed a coastal storm on Thursday. Some computer models such as the European is intensifying this storm into a strong nor’easter Thursday night into Friday morning. This would be our first nor’easter of the year, if true.

One caveat, once one of the best models, the European has not been as reliable this year, for one reason or another.

However, should this storm develop, we would need to prepare for a lashing along the coast, with heavy rain, and strong winds. As it appears right now, the mountains of northern New England could see heavy wet snow from this storm.

It’s not out of the question, that even the high terrain of southern New England could see heavy wet snow, with an outside shot of some wet snow to the coast including Boston. Will need to monitor closely over the next couple days! I will update everyone if warranted.

If this storm does not materialize, expect blustery & chilly conditions towards the end of the week, with highs mainly in the 40’s.

At this point, the weekend looks to be dry and blustery, with chilly temperatures continuing. Daytime highs in the 40’s, and lows in the 20’s and 30’s.

There may be another brief warm up at the start of next week? Computer models are not in agreement at this time, but the prospects look good. Thereafter, we may need to deal with another storm? Welcome to spring in New England!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will take a better look at our spring forecast. I will also be on the look out for any other late season potential storms. I will also have a new outdoor spring activity forecast. In the meantime, spring is finally here…let’s hope for a prompt arrival this year!

Thanks for reading!

Pete


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