The Countdown Is On! 6/19/18

Hello! I apologize for the delay! Every now and again, a major technical malfunction occurs. Such was the case yesterday! Typically, it would be my fault, and I would be upset at myself for pressing the wrong button!

In this case, I wrote out the entire post, some 1800 words, pressed publish, and ‘poof’ it was gone! I’m still trying to figure out exactly what happened! The program typically saves drafts as I’m writing, but nothing was saved this time.

Such a shame, as I covered so many different topics, including the summer update. You may say, just write it again. Of course this can be done, I’m doing it right now,  but it’s never going to be the same as the original. The thoughts and information have escaped my mind, and is difficult to retrieve.

Due to time restrictions, I am going to write an abbreviated post,  try and figure out what happened, and be back with a full write up next Monday!

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed their Father’s Day weekend! Yes, it appears as if we have broken the cycle of rainy weekends! Temperatures started out a bit on the cool side on Saturday, but warmed up enough on Sunday so that many were able to get outside, go to the beach, or take a hike up in the mountains. It was a beautiful weekend!

Which leads us to yesterday. Oh yes, the day when record high temperatures, heat advisories, and talk of schools being cancelled because of the expected heat was going to happen.

Wow…this was a very bad forecast by many. It reminded me of the snowstorm last winter which fizzled at the last second, prematurely closing schools and businesses across the city.

I too believed it was going to be more than 94 degrees yesterday. That’s what the computer data was saying. But again, Mother Nature goes by her own agenda.

A mass of cloudiness dropped further south at the last minute this morning, and basically parked themselves over Boston well into the afternoon.

By the time the sun finally was able to burn through the clouds around 4 pm, it was too late…temperatures barely nudged 90 in Boston, at the last minute. This was far short of the expected high temperature of 96 degrees, with a heat index of 103.

In any event, the media hype train continues to grow with any sign of a possible weather event. What was once just reserved for winter storms, has now spilled over to cold weather, frosts, snow  flurries, and temperatures possibly hitting 90 degrees.

If it indeed did nudge 90, it would be the third such occurrence in Boston this season. Typically, Boston averages approximately 14 days of 90 degree + days each summer. If you recall, my summer forecast called for 10 days of 90 degree + temperatures for this summer in Boston, made back on May 28th.

After reviewing the latest data, I have decided to keep this number in place. I’m still expecting a warm summer, just not an excessively hot one. A lot hinges on just hot August becomes.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I’m expecting a cooler year overall. This is partly due to the developing El Niño (warm water off the Pacific South American coast).

You may ask, Pete, you said El Niño’s make it warmer here in New England? Yes, in general they do. However, El Niño’s come in different strengths. The stronger the El Niño is, the warmer the weather becomes across much of the northern tier of the U.S. including us here in New England.

However, there are strong indications that this El Niño is going to be a weak to borderline moderate event. If this happens, it brings a very different pattern to New England during the late summer, fall and winter.

These types of El Niño’s are much colder, and can bring excessive amounts of snowfall to coastal New England. It’s still very preliminary, but I will be monitoring the El Niño throughout the summer months!

Nevertheless, it’s impacts can be felt early on. Right now, I’m expecting the brunt of the summer heat to happen in July this year. If the heat were to linger into August, we could come close to average amount of 90 degree days.

If you were to place a range, you could say between 10 and 14. My personal forecast is close to 10 but I could see with the right conditions, we could  receive a few more than that. We shall see!

When talking about summer heat, you often here me speak about  ‘bubbles’ of heat, and ‘pockets’ of cool weather. Right now, the summer heat finally made its way into southern New England.

However, a slight shift in the jet stream is going to allow for cooler, drier air to punch into New England from Canada, helping to keep it dry for the balance of the week.

However, there are growing signs that hot weather may try and make a run at us towards the end of the month and to start off July..perhaps a hot July 4th?

The summer idea is that New England will be caught in the middle with cool air to the north, and hot air to our south and west. The end result should be a beautiful equilibrium of mild to warm weather, with periods of hot and cool weather visiting New England from time to time. If this zone shifts too much either way, then the summer could become hotter, or cooler than normal. Will continue to monitor.

Speaking of summer, we are now rapidly approaching the summer solstice! It’s also the time of year when my sister Pam tells me summer is over! As a reminder, just because the days begin to shorten, does not mean summer is over!

It’s the same when we arrive to the winter solstice, the days begin to get longer, but the cold weather gets stronger. A process called latent heating and cooling is the cause for this. It takes longer for the oceans to warm up in the spring, and longer for them to cool down in the fall.

This keeps places like New England milder deep into November and sometimes even into December. It also generally keeps us cooler into May, and sometimes June.

If you are planning on doing some camping, boating, or going to the beach, this is going to turn out being a very nice week! Watch for your best days to be Tuesday, Thursday, then again Friday and Saturday.

It could turn a bit cooler with some instability clouds on Wednesday, with the outside chance of a shower, but no washout is anticipated. Temperatures should be in the 80’s today, 70’s Wednesday and Thursday, then low 80’s again Friday and Saturday.

Now for your weekly outdoor summer activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Some unexpected clouds and showers resulted in a overrated rating last week in my opinion.

Today may feature some early morning clouds, but a brisk wind is going to pick up, and will essentially whisk away all the humidity! Therefore, expect increasing amounts of sunshine, with dropping levels of humidity, with high temperatures in the lower 8o’s. Should be a great day to get outdoors to the beach!

Expect comfortable conditions overnight, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Low should be in the 50’s and 60’s

Watch for early morning sun on Wednesday. However, a small disturbance aloft will be traversing our area. This will not only keep temperatures cooler in the upper 70’s, but may also generate some afternoon  cumulus clouds, which may yield a few scattered showers across the region.

After this disturbance clears the coast, beautiful weather should return for the period Thursday through Saturday, with highs in the mid to upper 70’s Thursday (Happy Summer)! and Friday, and lower 80’s on Saturday.

Another weak disturbance may only serve to foul up beach plans on Sunday. This is not going to result in heavy rain or anything, but may bring with it some considerable cloudiness and a few showers or thunderstorms. It’s still only Tuesday, so things could change!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s update, I will be letting everyone know whether to prepare for a genuine heat wave, or another false alarm! I will also have a long range outlook looking towards the 4th of July holiday week! In the meantime, enjoy the summer solstice! The big question is will real summer weather show up to the party?

Thanks for reading!

Pete

 

 

 

 

Warmer…After Today! 6/11/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! All in all, it was nice weekend weatherwise…one that did not feature NO rain for once! Unfortunately, there seemed to be a lot of mid to high level cloudiness in areas along and south of the Mass Pike much of the time. This was in response to another massive rainstorm across the mid Atlantic region. This has been a repetive pattern here in late spring, where they get drenched with downpours, and southern New England is on the northern edge of just some cloudiness.

It may not have rained this weekend, but it was still on the cool side for this time of the year. Believe it or not, parts of northern Maine is still receiving frost at night! It was just last week that Mt. Washington also received an inch of snow! It may seem unusual for us down here in Boston, but in reality, it’s fairly typical for frost up in northern Maine, and a bit of snow on top of Mt. Washington in early June. Remember, Mt. Washington has received measurable snow in each month of the year!

I hate having to keep harping on it, but technically, it’s still spring. Summer does not officially arrive until June, 21st this year. You may say, Pete, what’sa the big deal, it’s practically summer, as it’s only just a little over a week away. I totally agree, but June is one of those weird months weatherwise. Building heat to our south can clash with leftover winter chill to our north, creating a lot of cloudiness and heavy rainfall. This is exactly what’s been happening across the mid Atlantic. In addition, ocean temperatures are slow to warm up during the spring, even now into June. This allows chilly seabreezes to keep coastal areas cooler than one would expect.

Mother Nature also has her own timetable. Even to this date, my confidence with the summer forecast is on the low side. When I blend all my information together, I still believe I made the best educated guesstimate that I could possibly make. There are still no clear signals on how this summer is going to turn out. Computer models are all over the place, at times surging searing heat into New England, only to back off next computer run. It reminds me a lot of the winter, when they keep saying cold and snow are coming, only to have it fizzle at the last second!

I will review the summer forecast next week, to see if I am going to make any changes. Right now, I’m still going with a warm summer, but not terribly hot. Boston averages about 14 ninety degree days each summer. This summer I’m calling for 10 here in the city. This means lots of 80’s may be in our future, which is fine by me, and for many folks who don’t like the extreme heat!

Interesting to note, we’ve already had two 90 degree days here in Boston. If we were to have just an average summer of 90 degree heat, we would end up with about 13 or 14 days of 90 degree days for the season. So we shall see if I’m going to tick it up a few notches, or leave it with my original call.

In the short term, I like what I’m seeing. If you like warm & sunny weather, this is the pattern for you! After a chilly seabreeze today, temperatures will be warming throughout this week. In fact, looking at some of the extended guidance, we could be talking about a possible heat wave about one week from today! A heat wave consists of three consecutive days of 90 degree + tempratures. Last year, Boston received 3 heat waves, one in May, one in June, and one in July, which accounted for 9 ninety degree days. The other three days were scattered in August and September. Though we did not have many more 90 degree days after July, temperatures remained very warm from August through October!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are transitioning from La Nina conditions (cold water in the southern Pacific), to El Nino (warm water in the same location). This has many implications not only for our hurricane season, but also for our weather patterns heading into next winter.

For the immediate future, we turn our attention to this years hurricane season. After last years catastrophic storms, I’m expecting a more tame season, this go around. Last year, we had very favorable conditions in the caribbean Sea for storms to develop and turn into massive hurricanes. Not only did they develop into massive storms, but they made direct landfalls resulting in catastrophic amounts of damage.

Last summer we had a surging La Nina. This and along with warmer than normal water, led to the super active season. I’m not an expert in studying La Nina’s, but I do know that this is a good environment for hurricane development. With that being said, I have more experience and understanding of El Nino’s. Perhaps because I have read more about it, and NOAA has known about it longer, so I understand it better.

Typically, when we have a developing El Nino in the Pacific, it increases westerly winds in the upper atmosphere. This creates a hostile environment for hurricanes to develop because it increases wind shear, not allowing hurricanes to strengthen. In an average season, NOAA says to expect between 10 and 12 named storms, with 5 or 6 of these becoming hurricanes. Of these hurricanes, 2 to 3 turn into major hurricanes, of category 3 or higher.

Many are calling for slightly above season. Because of the developing El Nino, I’m expecting a slightly less than average season this year. This does not mean we are out of the woods for a strike! Last year was a good example that it only takes one hurricane to make landfall at the right time, and place resulting in major death and destruction. It just so happened that we had 3 super major storms make direct landfalling hits last season! Oh my!

Everyone has their strong points in studying meteorology. My expertise is studying New England winters and nor’easters. Others are experts in tropical storms…some are good at everything! These forecasts always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, because of the high risks involved. If you call for a below normal season, and a single hurricane destroys a region, they may remember you for that one bad forecast. This is what happened in 1992, when destructive category 5 Andrew buzz sawed through south Florida. That was the only major storm in that season, but boy was it a doozy! That year was similar to this year, in which we had a developing El Nino that summer. Nonetheless, we do our best to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

So with all that being said, I’m calling for between 8 and 10 named storms, 3 to 5 becoming hurricanes, with one or two turning into a major hurricane of category 3 or higher. After last years super intense season, this does not seem like much. But we shall see, it’s a long season. With warmer than normal water sitting off the east coast, I’m concerned about a in close development near the east coast and up into New England this year. Also areas in the Gulf Coast need to be attentive. Tropical activity seems to be wanting to develop early this year in this region, as water temperatures have been warmer than average. Though I can’t rule it out, Florida does not appear to be in the cross hairs of a hurricane strike this season. I will monitor closely just to be on the safe side!

By the way, due to the developing El Nino, I’m expecting a much more active hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean. Typically, many of these storms travel west towards Japan, and turn into typhoons. Occasionally, a storm will form off Mexico, and turn north into the Baja of California and Cabo San Lucas, bringing flooding rains and high winds. This leftover moisture can also stream into the desert southwest, bringing welcome rains and cooler temperatures. One such storm may already be threatening. Hurricane Bud has formed off of Mexico, and may threaten these exact areas mentioned above!

Now for your camping, beach and boating forecast. This is the week we’ve been waiting for! The only chance of rain the way I see it right now is on Wednesday, and this will be only hit and miss afternoon summer shower or thunderstorm. Otherwise, expect great weather for tomorrow, most of Wednesday, and then again from Thursday through next weekend! Next weekend looks to be a great weekend for beach and boating with highs well up into the 80’s and sunny skies! Enjoy!

Now for your weekly outdoor summer activity forecast! I will rate this week a 9 out of 10. Wow! We have not seen that rating for quite some time! Expect mostly sunny skies for the remainder of the afternoon. It will be cool along the coast with highs mainly in the low 60’s. However, if you live 10 miles inland from the coast, temperatures should reach into the lower 70’s. Tonight will feature clear skies with cool temperatures, again. Lows will fall into the 40’s in rural areas, and 50’s in the cities.

As a high pressure tracks east of New England, winds will turn more southerly tomorrow. This means it will be warmer, with highs in the mid 70’s across much of the region, except along the south coast, where this wind acts like a seabreeze, keeping it cooler there. Overall, it should be a pleasant day, with a good amount of sun, and a ventilating breeze. With an increase in humidity and southerly winds, there is a chance of some fog along the south coast tomorrow night, so be aware of that.

Wednesday will feature higher humidity levels under a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures will be similar to tomorrow, but it’s going to feel more muggy. A cold front slicing through the region later in the day may introduce the chance of a thunderstorm.

Expect warm weather on Thursday with a good amount of sun, and lower levels of humidity. Highs should reach the lower 80’s. A fine day.

It may turn slightly cooler on Friday, with just a few more couds around than Thursday, but no rain is anicipated at this time. With a slightly more northwest flow, temperatures should remain in check in the mid 70’s should do it.

Right now, the upper air flow looks to bend enough to allow a southwest flow into the weekend. This will promote warm and dry weather for both Saturday and Sunday. Right now, I’m expecting mainly sunny days, with highs in the mid 80’s on Saturday, and mid to upper 80’s, maybe even close to 90 on Sunday! Thereafter, we may experience another 2 or 3 days into the following week, so get the a.c.’s ready!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next weeks’s blog, I will be updating, and will have my final summer forecast. As mentioned above, it’s entirely possible that I may leave it the way it was. Or, I could tweak it slightly. I will review latest data. I will also have a new beach and outdoor activity forecast. In the meantime, don’t be discouraged with all the cool weather we’ve been experiencing, the warm weather and summer is arriving…and is right on cue!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my most loyal fan…my sister, Pam!!!~

Also…Happy Father’s Day!

June: Still Indecisive! 6/4/18

Hello! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! It was a high stakes forecast, with so many graduations and weddings happening at this time of the year! I was so happy that it turned out okay for folks who had events planned here in the Boston area! Friday was indeed a summer preview, with hideous levels of humidity. Saturday started off very muggy, but a sudden windshift to the northeast quickly squashed that humidity south of Boston, temporarily setting summer back. Sunday was a beautiful day…for October! Many folks, including myself, enjoyed the refreshing change. But for those who love the beach, not so much!

You may say, Pete, a summer setback already? We haven’t even begun summer, and you’re already talking about a setback? This is true, and another reason not to panic just yet for this summer. Astronomical summer does not officially begin until June, 21st. As mentioned in previous posts, meteorological summer began June 1st, and ends on August 31st. Summer may not officially be here, but for many folks, Memorial Day kicks off the summer season.

Because summer season tends to be short around here in New England, I’m already hearing concerns about the fate of this summer. Quite honestly, I don’t blame folks. I hear them loud and clear, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it! After a winter that lingered through much of April, we are already in June. From this point forward, each lousy weekend begins to chop into the few short months we have to enjoy the summer!

I’m not saying that it’s going to be a lousy summer, but the last official dud of a summer was way back in 2009. Nobody wants a dud summer! I remember that summer well. Folks were huddled on the beach with sweat tops and blankets, as northwest gales persisted through much of the season. But what I am saying is that summer here in New England the past 8 years or so, have been generally nice. With that being said, folks become anxious for nice weather this time of year. In reality, June is still a transition month here in New England. It snowed again up in Newfoundland this past weekend! When it comes to weather here in New England, everything is relative.

Again, you may ask, how many transition months do we have here in New England? Well, each year is different. In recent years, the latent heating and cooling effect has been controlling our weather patterns. This is in large part due to the ocean temperatures. After a long, cold winter, it takes time for the Atlantic Ocean to our east and northeast to warm up. For this reason, winter tends to linger coastal New England. Remember, land heats up much more quickly than oceans. As the heat rises off the land, cool maritime has no resistance to undercut the heat, push inland, chilling off the coast. And because the ocean is still rather cold this time of year, high temperatures in the 50’s is not uncommon. I believe we had similar spells in early June the past several years.

If you love summer, and you live here in New England, you must learn to be patient. I’m not trying to teach everyone a lesson or anything, it’s just the facts. It appears we are still dealing with the last vestiges of the winter pattern, here in early June…kind of like a winter hangover. This is quite normal. In fact, over the past several years, summer didn’t even get going until after the 4th of July! While I’m not expecting an excessively hot summer here in New England, I do believe it will be warm enough to satisfy most folks before we turn the calender to fall.

While I’m expecting this summer to eventually warm up, how long it lasts is the next agenda I’ll be working on. The last two summers extended deep into the autumn. With a weak El Nino coming on, things could change more abruptly for us here in New England later this summer and heading into the fall. I will have more about this development over the next several weeks.

As we move deeper into the season, and the oceans begin to warm up, hot air masses from the south and west will eventually begin to penetrate New England. However, as I mentioned in last weeks summer forecast, this is a very tricky pattern to forecast this summer! We are transitioning from La Nina (cold ocean in the Pacific) to a weak El Nino (slightly warmer ocean in the Pacific). We also have to deal with an increasingly colder looking Atlantic Ocean. This is something that will need to monitored very carefully, not only for this summer, but for years to come.

What this typically means is building heat out in the western part of the country. I like to call these “heat bubbles.” In other words, it’s like a balloon, that expands, and builds. Where these “heat bubbles” build and persist, is where the hottest weather is going to develop this summer. Right now, I’m expecting this to occur in the center part of the nation, which it already is, then retrograde towards the west coast as the summer matures.

What does this mean for us here in New England? As the heat ridge builds out west, a cool pocket develops on the east side. Think of it like a see saw. One side goes up, while the other side comes down. You might be thinking, uh oh, break out the sweat jackets and hoodies this summer! Well, not exactly! Believe me when I say this, we would not want to be under this heat bubble! You’re going to hear news reports this summer at how awful the heat is in much of the country! Right now, I’m still going with a nice mix between the two extremes.

The very hot weather may not be too far away from New England at times. Meanwhile, the very cool weather may also be not too far away at the same time to our north. What this could lead to for us here in New England is a lot of cloudiness and showers and thunderstorms at times. Overall, it should lead to a nice equilibrium of hot and cool air masses, leading to a generally pleasantly warm summer. I will be updating my summer forecast in a few weeks to see if any tweaks are needed.

While I am forecasting a fairly average summer around here, it is interesting to note that May was actually much warmer than average this year in much of New England. This certainly helped dormant trees to help blossom after such a long late winter. While not overly abundant, there has been just enough rain to keep the gardeners happy. Although I am aware that some areas received more than others.

June is looking pretty interesting to me. While summertime heat builds to our south and west, cooling influence from Canada should protect us at least for the first half of June. This should lead to fairly comfortable, seasonable temperatures for our area. Because the boundary will be close to us, I am expecting more periods of wet weather, especially here in southern New England. Later in the month, there are some signs that the pattern may temporarily shift, and allow some hot weather to flood into New England. Boston typically averages about three 90 degree days in June, and I can see us reaching that number before the month is through. Despite the cool start, I am thinking June ends up a bit warmer than normal, but not as warm as May was, against the averages.

Now for your beach, boating and camping forecast. While not the best of weeks, if you time it right, you may get some periods of nice weather. Worse days for outdoor activities this week will be today, tomorrow, and perhaps early Wednesday, then again on Sunday the way it looks right now. Thursday, Friday and Saturday look decent, though watch for a thunderstorm on Friday. Overall, temperatures will be warming back up to seasonable levels, which means low to mid 70’s for many of us.

Now for your weekly outdoor summer activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Look for mainly cloudy skies for the rest of this afternoon. There may be some leftover drizzle here in the Boston area, and some exiting showers down on the Cape. It will be cool, with highs only in the 50’s.

Tonight will feature mainly overcast skies, though some breaks may show up later at night. With leftover moisture around, we may be dealing with some patchy fog in some places. Lows will generally be in the 40’s and 50’s.

Tuesday will start off with partial sunshine and warmer temperatures. However, a cold pool aloft will be crossing southern New England during the day. This means be prepared for building clouds, along with the chance of afternoon showers, and possibly some isolated thunderstorms containing small hail. The greatest threat for this appears to be areas south of the Mass Pike at this time. With early sun, temperatures will respond to near 70, before any rain develops.

Showers may linger into Tuesday evening, with low temperatures mainly in the 50’s.

There may be some scattered early morning showers on Wednesday, otherwise, I’m expecting a generally dry day, although not with too much sunshine, with highs in the mid 60’s. Fair weather is expected Wednesday night, with lows in the lower 50’s.

I’m expecting generally fair and warm weather from Thursday through Saturday. Although not perfect, a shower still can’t be ruled out during this period. Expect high temperatures in the 70’s on Thursday, lower 80’s on Friday, and mid 70’s again on Saturday. A cold front will approach from the north during Saturday evening, and may complicate the weather for Sunday. A small storm may develop along this front and cross New England with a period of rain Saturday night and into Sunday morning. If this moves quickly enough, it may allow for improvement later Sunday. However with a north, northeasterly flow, temperatures are once again looking to be below average. Timing is subject to change!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my hurricane forecast. Sorry I could not fit this in today, as time is short. There is currently no threats for tropical development for this week. I will also be monitoring the latest volcanic activity, and let you know if this has any implications on our weather patterns. I will also have a new summer outdoor activity forecast. In the meantime, let’s hope Mother Nature figures it out soon, the natives are getting restless!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Summer Forecast! 5/28/18

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoyong their long holiday weekend! Though I want to say Happy Memorial Day to everyone, it just doesn’t seem the like the right thing to say. We say happy for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Independence Day and Easter. These are happy days when we gather with friends and family to celebrate a joyous occasion. Though there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be happy on Memorial Day, we should remember what this holiday stands for.

Plain and simply, Memorial Day is a day to honor, remember and give thanks for the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrafice to serve our country, to help bring us our freedom that we enjoy today! Without them, we would not be able to enjoy our backyard cookouts, and going to the beach. While we’re at it, let’s remember our family members and friends who have passed away over the years, and first responders who place their lives on the line everyday to help protect us!

As is typically the case, the weather has been the talk of the town around here…and not for reasons many would like it to be. It has been yet another split decision weekend of nice weather here in the Boston area. There’s been so many split decisions going back to the early spring, I’ve lost count! Too bad we could not reverse the days from Friday and Saturday with Sunday and Monday!

The weekend started off strong, with sunny and very warm to even hot weather for both Saturday and Sunday. If you love the beach, I hope you were able to spend some time there during these two days. Later Saturday is when the change began. A strong back door cold front moved in from northeast to southwest during the day. Sometime around 5 pm, the sky turned dark, and winds began to pick up out of the northeast. Temperatures began to plummet. Boston’s temperature was 88 degrees at 5 pm, only to fall some 25 degrees in a few short hours! Temperatures continued to plummet through the night, bottoming out at 53 degrees Sunday afternoon.

I was at my nephew’s baseball game Saturday evening and underestimated the chill of the northeast wind, with my short sleeved shirt on. Wow, did that chill me to the bone! For those who were blasting the air conditioners earlier in the day, heard the heat click on later that night! If you do the quick math, that’s a 35 degree temperature drop in 24 hours!

If you’re thinking, cold fronts typically don’t move from the northeast to the southwest. You’re correct, they typically don’t! They generally move from west to east. In fact, this is a phenominon that is unique for us here in New England. How special that Mother Nature is always thinking of us!

But why does it turn 35 degrees colder here in New England, yet you hear of temperatures of near 100 degrees off to our south and west? Well, the answer is somewhat complex, but it is explainable. You hear of me speaking many times about New England’s position on earth. We are located exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. This in itself will lead to wild temperature swings and big storms! In addition, the North Atlantic Ocean is literally surrounding us, leading to classic phenominon called latent heating and cooling.

Meaning the ocean takes longer for it to heat up than land mass during the spring. This leads to heat rapidly rising over land, and cold pools of air pooling off to our east and northeast over the ocean. As the air rises over inland areas, the heavier, more dense air comes rushing in along the coastal plain as the back door cold front charges in from northeast to southwest across New England. In the fall, it’s the exact opposite, with the ocean taking longer to cool off than the land mass, keeping the coast milder deeper into the atumn and early winter. All of these combine to bring us very changeable weather conditions, with not any one pattern lasting too long.

In the “it could always be worse department,” winter refuses to leave Atlantic Canada! Newfoundland experienced its second largest snowstorm on record at the end of last week, with many areas receiving nearly 20 inches of heavy wet snow! This was very impressive and unusual, even for their standards! While we did not receive snow, you could easily trace where the cold surge of air came from! The storm was so large, it helped propel the back door cold front through Boston, bringing the much colder temperatures all the way up from there, down through New England!

I could see how all of this talk of back door cold fronts, plummeting temperatures and even snow could have many very concerned about our impending summer! We endured through quite a long winter, and most folks are looking forward to a long hot summer! Well, I hate to say it, but the weather just doesn’t work that way! Just because we had a pretty rough winter, does not necessarily mean a beautiful summer is on the way. At least I don’t look at it that way!

Many forget quickly. After the epic winter of 2014-15, New England witnessed some of it’s warmest temperatures ever recorded for the region. in fact, we had nearly 24 straight months of above average temperatures! A record warm El Nino (warm water in the Pacific) had a lot to do with that. Since then, we’ve had two consecutive La Nina’s (cold water in the Pacific). that has helped to cool off the atmosphere, back to near normal levels here in New England. After a few years of above normal temperatures, I am expecting a cooler year overall, with more precipitation. We are already ahead in precipitation, and I’m expecting this trend to continue right to the end of the year.

We are now transitioning out of La Nina, and headed towards either neutral conditions, or a weak El Nino for next winter. Unfortunately for me, these transition summers tend to be the most difficult to forecast around here. Currently, there is no clear signal as to how hot it’s going to get around here this summer. Therefore, I must rely on my intuition, and past analog summer patterns, similar to this one.

To see who is going to receive the hottest weather this summer, I look at current trends. I like to look at where air masses are building, which gives me clues as to where the hot and cool weather is going to be. I call these air masses, bubbles of heat, and pools of cool air. Once these air masses establish themselves, they tend to linger or persist over a particular area over the course of the entire season.

So far early on, I am seeing heat bubbles build up in the center of the country, and cool pools establishing themselves across the Canadian Maritimes, to our northeast. There are some indications, that this pattern is going to retrograde over the course of the summer, shifting the core of the hottest weather out to the western part of the country, and the cool pools over the center of the country. This would leave the door open for New England to receive periods of cool weather from Canada, and times of warm to briefly hot weather to visit us on occasion from the south.

What does this all mean? Right now, I am expecting a somewhat cooler than normal summer here in New England. I measure how hot the summer is, as to how many 90 degree temperatures we receive here in Boston. Logan Airport typically receives 14 days of 90 degree plus temperatures in an average season. Last year we had 12. My best educated guess for this summer in Boston is to go less than the longterm average. I’m expecting less heat waves this summer, if any at all. To classify as an official heat wave, we must have three consecutive 90 degree days in a row. Currently, I do not foresee many heat waves this summer in Boston. Therefore, the total number of 90 degree days I’m expecting here in Boston this summer is 10. We have already had one here in May.

This number is somewhat lower than what I have seen posted by some meteorologists and government agencies, such as NOAA, who’s actually predicting a hotter than normal summer, but do not give any specifics such as how many 90 degree days. I have studied past summers transitioning from La Nina to El Nino, and many have tipped to the cooler side. In addition, with us being close to the boundary of warm and cool, I’m expecting more thunderstorms and more rain than normal this summer across our area. With this type of forecast, one could say it’s going to be a cool, wet summer. No, I don’t believe that it will be the case. I believe we will have our share of warm weather this summer, probably enough to please most folks.

What could go wrong? Quite a bit! As I have said, many don’t want to touch summer forecasts. Steering currents are generally weaker, and can change unexpectedly. If the jet stream retreats into northern Canada, warm to hot air could spread more freely across the country, even into New England. Here are some of the intangibles: If the warm water off the Atlantic coast can maintain itself, and we don’t get as much rain as I’m planning, it could help develop one or two heat waves up into southern New England, which could bump up the number of 90 degree days up to 12 to 14. This could help it to bring summer temperatures close to “normal”, which is still entirely possible.

Conversely, If a block develops over Greenland, it could strengthen the northern jet stream, resulting in cooler air frequently diving down from Canada into New England, resulting in shorter periods of hot weather, and fewer 90 degree days than forecasted. You may say I took the middle of the road approach, and I would say you’re probably correct! At this time, this is my best educated guess on our summer forecast. As always, I will update and may tweek this forecast when the summer solstice arrives on June 21st. I have mentioned this many times before, it’s a long summer, and Mother Nature sometimes does not show her true intentions until the official astronomical season arrives!

How about for the short term? Your beach and boating forecast looks decent for this week. Watch out for choppy seas on Wednesday, and again next weekend! Otherwise, the weather looks to improve greatly for tomorrow, through early Friday. Inclement weather may once again arrive as we head towards nest weekend. Look for warm weather for tomorrow, then again on Thursday for your best beach days. If you’re planning on doing some camping, best weather looks to be from tomorrow through early Friday. Showers and downpours may become an issue later Friday through next weekend.

Now for your weekly spring outdoor activity forecast. I’m rating this week a 6 out of 10. Expect brightening skies this afternoon, especially across inland locations. If we’re lucky, we may see a very colorful sunset! I’m not expecting any rain, so evening cookouts should go off without a hitch. With the increased radiation from the sun, temperatures are going to be about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday. You can turn off the heat now!

There may be some leftover moisture overnight to develop some patchy fog, otherwise expect clearing skies, and mild temperatures, lows will be in the 50’s.

Just in time to go back to school and work, expect sunny skies and very warm temperatures tomorrow, with highs into the lower 80’s inland, and mid 70’s along the coast with a light seabreeze. Fair weather is expected tomorrow night, with lows in the 50’s.

Expect a stronger seabreeze to develop on Wednesday. This will not be as strong as the one we had on Sunday. Nevertheless, temperatures will still be a good 10 degrees cooler along the coast on Wednesday. With a front in the area, there may also be some scattered rain showers, but a washout is not anticipated. high temperatures will range from the mid 60’s along the coast, to mid 70’s inland.

Winds will strengthen from the southwest on Thursday. This will drive temperatures back up into the mid 80’s. As a front approaches, there is a chance of some showers Thursday night, with muggy weather arriving as well. Low temperatures will mainly be in the 50’s and lower 60’s.

A front will slowly be approaching on Friday. This and in combination of tropical moisture moving up the coast from our south, will increase the chances of showers across the region. It will be warm and increasingly muggy, with highs in the mid 80’s.

Right now, next weekend is looking very shaky. A block in the North Atlantic may actually shunt the remains of Alberto towards the mid Atlantic coast. This could possibly develop a coastal type of storm to develop. If this does indeed develop, and move south of New England, it could mean a weekend of damp weather, with showers, mist, drizzle and northeast winds for both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday would be the warmer of the two days, but if that storm gets going Sunday will be like yesterday all over again, with even more rain. I knmow there are many outdoor events happening, such as graduation parties and weddings…Sorry about that! There’s still time for some adjustments!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be talking about our hurricane season, which officially begins this Friday. I will also have a June preview, and a review of how May turned out. In the meantime, looks like one of those summers to be prepared for anything…in other words, pretty typical New england weather!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

More Spring Changes! 5/21/18

Hello! I hope everyone enloyed their weekend! I noticed plenty of pictures of graduations, proms, weddings, and many other outdoor events and activities! Unfortunately, the weather did not fully cooperate. Saturday started off promising with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. However, in typical New England fashion, clouds raced in, and before you knew it, rain was falling in much of the area. It turned downright cold, too! As the rain fell, it cooled the atmosphere even more, dropping temperatures into the upper 40’s and low 50’s…brrr! As winds turned southwest, Sunday turned much warmer! Too bad lots of clouds remained stubborn across the area, with many communities seeing a downpour during the late afternoon as a cold front passed through the region.

That cold front swept the inclement weather out to sea last night, leaving us with a spectacular Monday, just in time for everyone to go back to work and school! Oh my, what a day! Checking out all the observations and data from the area, this could actually be the best weather day of the entire month! What would constitute a top weather day in May? I would say we need lots of sunshine…like 100% of the possible. Check! Next, temperatures. An optimun temperature for this time of the year would be between 75 and 80. Check!! How about winds? Yes, we don’t want it too windy to make it feel chilly or anything. Check!!! In fact, winds will be so light, it may flop onshore right at the beaches this afternoon, with a feeble seabreeze. All in all, I would give this day a 10! If only we Mother Nature would cooperate, and send some of this beautiful weather on our weekends!

As we all know, Mother Nature goes by her timetable, and has no regard to our beach plans, or golf outings. What I’m saying is that I hope this doesn’t turn into a persistant trend, with inclement weather over the weekends, and beautiful weather during the week! So far, this has certainly been the case here during May. No doubt, the weather works in patterns. Once you get locked into a certain pattern, it can last for a whole season in some cases!

Will that be the case this summer? I don’t believe so. With that being said, it’s been a very rough transition from winter to spring this year. I find it hard to believe that it was just a few weeks ago that pretty much all the trees still did not have leaves on them! April was cold around these parts, and spring was non existent. Then May arrived, and with it came a surge of warm to even hot weather the first few days of the month. Boston recorded its first 90 degree temperature on May 3rd this year. This burst of heat was most certainly needed to get the leaves blooming. It turned so warm, that spring caught up in its timetable. What was once a three week delay, literally caught up in only a few days!

It was an amazing process to watch. Everything bloomed all at once! It may of been a short spring this year, but it certainly made the most out of the time it had! With plenty of moisture this winter and early spring, tree blossoms, lawns and flowers are showing us why we love living here in New England! Just like the weather, we literally have nearly every species of trees and flowers thriving here! While driving around over the weekend, I thought to myself just how underrated the spring colors are around here. From vibrant fuschia, to magnificent blues, vivid greens, and eye popping yellows and reds…it’s springs version of autumn!

So the seasons are transitioning rapidly now. We are now only 10 days away from the start of meteorological summer! For record keeping, meteorologists break up the seasons into 4 quarters. Meteorological summer is the three months starting on June 1st through August 31st. Sometimes Mother Nature cooperates, and summer begins like clockwork right around June 1st. Other years, it waits patiently to arrive right when the solstice occurs, around June 21st. In my experience, summers that hold off until arriving around the solstice typically are the hottest for us here in New England. There have been others that bring heat around Memorial Day, back off, then come back with a vengeance later in June and July.

What about this summer? Hard to believe my official summer forecast will be released just one week from today! I remember speaking about it way back in March, thinking how far away it still is. Time is flying by! As I have mentioned before, I believe summer is more of a challenge to forecast than winter. The reason being is that the steering currents become weaker in summer, and there are fewer strong signals as to say what may happen. This year is no exception. While the majority of computer models are showing cooler and wetter, there are still some fairly reliable models forecasting some decent heat and humidity for us here in New England.

It’s hard to use the pattern here in May as a clue for the summer weather. I don’t believe the true summer pattern has evolved yet across the U.S. If this pattern were to dominate this summer, we would be looking at a warm summer, with plenty of rain. Technically, we’re still in spring. The cold weather on Saturday is good example of this. While it’s been warm down here in southern New England, it’s still been pretty cold up in Canada. Occasionally, when the jet stream dips far enough south, a pocket of cold air can briefly visit our latitude. This typically does not last, as shown by the marked warm up we had on Sunday. It’s still kind of a back and forth, up and down pattern, with no real summer pattern locking in just yet. We shall see if I can determine what this summer is going to bring to us by next week!

With the warmer weather, comes thoughts of going to the beach, camping and hiking! So far, there have been few beach days here in our area. That’s not to say there has not been nice days to go to the beach! There has, just not real beach days. There’s still a leftover chill many days right at the beaches, and the water could give you hypothermia if you stay in too long! I could see today being a nice day to head to the beach. A light seabreeze could make it cooler right at the waters edge, but not cold enough to keep you away. This is normal for May. Not known to be a true beach month, we may average about 5 days nice enough to go to the beach during May. After today, the weather will become iffy tomorrow, then nice again Wednesday through Friday, only to turn shaky again for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Planning some camping and hiking? The weather looks great today, not so nice later tomorrow into early Wednesday with showers. From what I can see, the weather is looking good for a good portion of Wednesday through much of Saturday. Thereafter, there may be some showers to contend with on Sunday and Monday. So far, a complete washout is not anticipated…but that may be subject to change for the better or worse this far out.

Before I get to my official forecast, I wanted to give a huge shout out to the Beethoven Elementary School in West Roxbury!!! I was invited to do my first weather presentation to all the first graders last Wednesday! I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was a bit nervous at first, but the faculty and staff could not of been any nicer in making me feel welcome and appreciated! It was a pleasure meeting each and everyone of you!

And of course…it was all about the kids! The kids were a great reflection of the outsdanding staff they have at the Beethoven! They were extremely obedient, asked many super intelligent questions, and were very eager to listen as to what I had to say! We covered a variety of topics, such as how the seasons change, why the weather here in New England is so changeable, why leaves change in the fall, thunder, lightning and a great question from a teacher about volcanoes! It was very light, and fun was had by all!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10…weighted heavily for weather during the weekdays. Expect a near perfect 10 for the rest of today, with brilliant sunshine, deep blue skies and light winds….wow! Temperatures should respond, with highs near 80 most places, perhaps a few degrees cooler within a mile of the ocean. Enjoy!

Look for fair weather this evening, later on, clouds may begin to increase, but no rain is expected tonight. Low temperatures will fall into the 40’s and 50’s, warmest of course in urban heat island areas.

A small storm will be approaching from the west on Tuesday. After a warm front passes in the morning, a cold front will be approaching during the afternoon. Expect mainly cloudy skies, with a period of showers to traverse the region from west to east during the afternoon and evening. It will be mild, but not as warm as today, with highs in the upper 60’s and lower 70’s.

I am expecting generally fair and mild to warm weather for the period Wednesday through Friday. High temperatures will be between 75 and 80 on Wednesday, a bit cooler on Thursday with a seabreeze, but warming up again to the low 80’s on Friday. It should be mainly dry, though there is a small risk of a pop up shower on Thursday, but certainly no washout is anticipated.

The weather over the holiday weekend is looking a bit shaky at best at this point. I believe we will generally have mainly fair and warm weather on Saturday, with highs in the lower 80s. A wavy front nearby, as well as moisture streaming up from the south would mean that I have to introduce the chance of some showers for both Sunday and Monday. From what I see right now, I am not anticipating a total washout. Though as I mentioned above, being six or seven days out, this forecast could change for the better or worse. For right now, I’ll go optimistic, and say some showers here and there, but no washout. At the same token, I don’t see a summer fun filled weekend with tons of fun at the beach. In other words, fairly typical for late May around here.

Temperatures are going to be tricky. As mentioned above, a wavy weather front will be in the region, with cool air to the north, and very warm air to the south. Right now, seeing how this spring has gone so far, I would bet on onshore winds at least for Sunday, which would mean cool temperatures for east coast beaches, with highs in the 60’s. It could turn much warmer on Memorial Day itself? Something to monitor!

Well, that’s about it for today! In next week’s blog, I will be publishing my official 2018 summer forecast! I will also have a new beach and camping forecast, as well as your general weekly forecast. In the meantime, I think I’ll head down to the bay, to enjoy this beautiful day in May, before more changes come our way!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Something For Everyone…5/14/18

Hello! Happy Mother’s Day! I hope everyone had a enjoyable weekend! As has been the case for what seems like months now, the weather was a split decision across the region. Friday was sunny and warm. Saturday turned rainy and cold. Sunday started off dreary & cool, but thankfully the sun broke through, for a much brighter afternoon. A cool wind off the ocean kept a chill to the air along the coast.

Whatever the weather, I hope everyone was able to spend some time with mom & family. I know there are many who no longer have their mom’s, and this time of the year can be especially difficult. There’s no way we can bring them back, but we do have memories, and hope the hope that their spirit will live on for eternity. I am very grateful that we were able to celebrate another Mother’s Day with mom!

Ahhhh May…just when you think we’re in the clear, back comes on the heat! Wow, it turned downright cold Saturday afternoon as the rain moved in! It was just a couple weeks ago that we seemingly went from winter straight into summer, with folks frantically looking for air conditioners! It’s the time of year when summer is so close, yet can feel so far away at times! This time of the year, the wind direction makes all the difference in the world. We can be enjoying temperatures well up into the 80’s one day with southwest winds, then have the heat on the next day with raw onshore winds and temperatures in the 40’s!

As I have mentioned before, May is a true transitional month going from spring to summer. It’s a very similar month as November, going from autumn to winter. Despite the recent chill, May is averaging well above normal in temperatures, thanks to the very warm to hot weather we experienced at the beginning of the month. This is no surprise to me, as I was expecting May to feature above average temperatures.

How we get there is a different story. It’s always the extremes that make the averages. Just this week I’m expecting temperatures to range from the 80’s to the 50’s! The mean between these two extremes is approximately 65 degrees, which is about the average temperature for this time of year! Guess which day I’m expecting offshore winds??

Why the big changes? Well, after a brutally cold April across the midwest, the weather patterns have done a complete reversal, with the first 12 days of May being the warmest on record! The jet stream has lifted just far enough to the north, to allow a big bubble of warm air to build across the middle part of the nation. At the same time, leftover winter cold continues to plague much of Canada.

Because New England’s proximity to Canada and the North Atlantic Ocean, we are susceptible to intrusions of chilly air masses, especially moving in from the northeast. I speak of this often, but the main culrpit lies in latent heating and cooling of the oceans. It takes longer for the oceans to heat up in the spring than the land, and longer for them to cool off in the fall. This means coastal New England stays cooler deeper into the spring than interior locations, and milder deeper into the fall.

I follow an interesting person on Twitter from Newfoundland! As chilly as it may be sometimes here in New England, winter lingers up there sometimes until June! Though the ocean modifies the climate, its latitude alone means long hard winters, and short cool summers. I remember seeing photos of whole homes buried under snow from repetitive winter storms this past winter. In some ways, it’s similar to coastal New England, especially Maine, just that the winters are longer and even snowier, if you can believe it. However, just the majestic beauty of the region makes it a top location for me to visit someday soon!

Getting back to the matter at hand, it appears as if this spring pattern is going to intensify over the next 7 to 10 days. With winter cold air up in Canada, and summer heat across the south, New England is going to be caught in somewhat of a squeeze play of sorts. A wavy weather front is going to separate the two seasons, and New England is going to be caught right in the middle. With such a temperature contrast, this means we can expect quite a bit of rain coming our way! Good for lawns and gardens, bad for folks looking to get an early start on their sun tans.

This does not mean it’s going to rain everyday. This week alone will feature something for everyone, as the title of today’s post says! It could be worse! We could be dealing with evacuating our homes due to a volcanic eruption!

Wow..the poor folks in Hawaii. At last count, up to 2,000 people are being evacuated from their homes. Fissures, from the Kilauea volcano has been splitting neighborhood streets open, and creeping into people’s back yards, spewing lava and molten rock dangerously close to their homes! Now, geologists believe a major steam eruption is imminent! Though somewhat different than other types of explosions, where part of the cone of the volcano just explodes, this brings its own dangers.

This is a very dangerous situation! If volcanologists say a major explosion is imminent, folks should heed the warning! If this volcano explodes, it could hurl boulders the size of small cars at least a half mile away from the eruption, and spew dangerous sulfur dioxide gases into the atmosphere. If the eruption reaches its full potential, scoldering steam will be emitted, as well as an ash explosion of possibly up to 20 miles up into the atmosphere. Depending on which direction prevailing winds are blowing will have a serious impact on where this ash will settle.

You may say this is so far away from New England, we have nothing to be worried about around here, right? Well, obviously we would not be directly affected by the eruption. However, as I mentioned in last weeks blog, everything that happens on earth has a reason, and a effect. Tons of ash exploding into the atmosphere would get caught up in the jet stream, and spread out across the atmosphere over time. If it were only the volcano in Hawaii erupting, it would probably be no big deal. However, there are several other active volcanoes around the world that are also dangerously close to having major eruptions. Should these other volcanoes erupt in unison, enough ash could be distributed into the upper atmosphere resulting in a global reduction in temperature. It has happened before, so it’s definitely something to closely monitor!

Hard to believe the summer forecast will be released just two short weeks from today! Like other seasonal forecasts, it appears as if this one too is going to come down to the wire, as to which direction I lean to. As I have mentioned before, I rate how hot our summers are by how many 90 degree days we see. Right now, I’m keeping a close eye on where these “bubbles of heat” are forming. In many cases, these air masses form in the deep southwest, and are transported northeast towards New England. If there’s no barrier from Canada, New England can cook for days on end. Other factors including how much rainfall we receive and how cloudy it is can determine how hot it actually gets. While I don’t see a scorcher of a summer, I can still see a nice mix of pleasant temperatures along with just enough hot weather to please everyone. I still have two weeks to work on this, so please check back then!

If you are planning a outdoor trip which features camping and hiking in New England, please be prepared for rapidly changing conditions this week! While temperatures may be warm, I’m expecting periods of soaking showers, especially tomorrow and towards next weekend. As for the beach, we’re getting close to Memorial Day, which offically kicks off the beach season! Until then, you will need to plan accordingly for best days, as a changeable pattern keeps us on our toes with warms days, puncuated by cool days, and periods of rain and damp conditions. Sounds very much like what I would expect for May. If this pattern were to continue later into June and July, then I would become concerned!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect lots of sun this afternoon, with warm temperatures. In fact, it would not be a bad idea to take a trip to the beach or boardwalk this evening for a quick stroll! Temperatures should warm up into the mid to upper 70’s. Skies should remain generally clear this evening, with low temperatures dropping only into the 50’s overnight. This type of pattern promotes patches of dense fog along the south coast and Cape Cod. Please be aware of this.

A cold front will be approaching New England tomorrow. First, a warm southwesterly wind and some sunshie should warm up many locations into the lower 80’s. As the cold front approaches, there is a chance of a line of strong to perhaps even severe thunderstorms to cross the region anytime after 3 pm. This activity may last into the first part of the evening, then slowly diminish. If severe weather develops, please listen to local updates for your community. Later at night, winds will turn into the north, filtering in cooler and drier air.

An onshore flow off the ocean will keep eastern Massachusetts chilly on Wednesday, with highs only making into the mid to upper 50’s! West of of Interstate 495, you will see temperatures about 10 degrees warmer. If the flow remains easterly Wednesday night, we may see some low clouds and fog across eastern locations, under cool temperatures.

A return flow on Thusday should produce a land breeze. If this happens, it will be warmer, with temperatures responding to the mid to even upper 70’s. Right now, I am not anticipating any rain on Thursday.

A wavy weather front will be approaching from the south and southeast on Friday. This front will be the focul point of showers and downpours which will begin later Friday, and may continue through the weekend. Right now, I am not optimistic for nice weather for the upcoming weekend. However, we have seen forecasts like this before, only to change for the better. As a reminder, skill level drops off considerably after 3 days. Hopefully we can get this system out of the way, so we can enjoy nice weather for the following weekend, which happens to be Memorial Day weekend!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my long range outlook for the Memorial Holiday weekend…wow! Where is the time going? I will also begin to focus in on the summer forecast! Also check out the beach and camping forecast. In the meantime, there’s something for everyone this week, in other words…welcome to spring in New England!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Seasonable…Is Nice! 5/7/18

Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend! After last weeks introduction to summer. it was a split decision weatherwise around here. Saturday was a spectacular spring day, which featured blue skies, light winds, and temperatures in the mid 70’s. A storm system off the coast fouled up Sunday’s weather, with cloudy skies and much cooler temperatures with onshore winds. As the saying goes, it could of been worse. Had that storm gotten its act together sooner, it would of been a total washout, and temperatures would of been even cooler.

Wow! Did it get hot last week! I could see temperatures were going to get warm, but I did not expect to see widespread 90 degree readings across the region. Even Boston hit 90 on Thursday, with high levels of humidity to boot! It was a summer preview, indeed! As to be expected, this kind of heat is not sustainable at this juncture of the season. I believe it was mereley Mother Nature’s way of balancing out such a cold spring we’ve been having so far this year. It was if she was saying, “summer is coming, here is a mini preview as to what’s ahead!” Had we not received this burst of summer like heat, it still would be looking like winter around here right into Mother’s Day!

A few friends asked me if these weather patterns are unusual? I would say yes and no. The weather is always unusual. The weather is always changing, variable, and alive. Remember what the saying is, the extremes make the averages. So when we get a seasonable week like this one coming up, consider ourseleves fortunate! The important thing to remember, is to try not to make a bigger deal about it than what it is. I remember similar patterns like this in the past. I have also done extensive research and it has shown similar patterns to this spring, dating back some 60 years ago and beyond.

Another friend asked me what my thoughts were about all these extreme weather events, and its relation to global warming. This is a great question! As always, I respect all opinions and beliefs on this subject. Your beliefs may be different than mine, and that’s perfectly okay in my book! The question is a loaded one, and could be discussed in great detail taking several hours or even days to do so. In the end, nobody would be declared the winner…as there are no clear cut answers in regards to this subject.

However, it’s my belief that the climate is changing. We have proof of it, even over the last 50 years or so. The big question is, is the sharp increase in Carbon Dioxide gas the reason of the change, or are other forces behind it? As I mentioned to my friend, we are living in a micro-second in geological time. I think, as a human race, we’ve become more intelligent in regards technology and statistical information, but unfortunately have regressed in common sense and logical thinking.

The technology part of me says the earth is warming…rapidly! Why not believe it? Infrared satellites show the earth warmer than it’s ever been. However, the common sense part of me tells me otherwise. The earth warming over the past 30 years may be true. This may be due from increased CO2 levels, but could also be due to cyclical ocean temperatures and urban heat island effect. These answers are an easy out, but I believe it’s far more complex than that.

I believe the earth’s climate is controlled by four major factors. First is the sun, and the cyclical nature of increased solar radiation reaching the earth, and cycles of reduced amount of radiation. Furthermore, the sun has maximum and minimum solar radiation cycles, which can affect the climate here on earth.

Second is the earth’s tilt. As we orbit around the sun, the earth is tilted at 23.4 degrees on it’s axis. This “tilt” is the reason we have our seasons! It’s an amazing feat of astronomical proportions! There’s a reason for everything that happens on this earth! For this reason, we will always have our seasons here in New England! We are located in a very unique spot on earth, centered exactly at the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole! In other words, unless this orbital journey or axial tilt suddenly changes, the weather is always going to change! Winter is always going to come, and summer is too!

Could this change? Yes, some scientists believe that the earth’s tilt on its own axis can vary from time to time. This could have major consequences to real time weather down here on earth! Should we tilt just a tenth of degree further away from the sun, it could plummet us into the next ice age! That’s how fine a balance the earth’s system is. Vice versa, if we happen to wobble slightly closer to the sun, the consequences would be severe!

Third, the oceans. The earth is covered in 70% salt water. Currently, the temperature of the oceans are warmer than they have ever been in recorded history. Is this the reult of increased CO2, or from natural recurring cycles? I believe the temperature of the oceans are closely related to the amount of solar radiation that the sun emits. Think of the ocean as a big pool in the back yard of someones house.

If it’s a sunny, hot day in the middle of the summer, the water in this pool is going to get very warm! For reasons unkown, the ocean temperatures have been warming at record high levels over the past 30 years. Feedback is also a very powerful element. As the ice caps melt, there’s more dark water to absorb the incoming sunlight, warming the water further, exasperating the situation.

Many link this warming to the sun, and I can’t argue against them. However, there are strong indications that the sun is entering what is called a Dalton Minimum, or low solar activity for the next 30 years or so. This does not mean an ice age is coming! However, it will be interesting to see whether the oceans respond to this cooler radiational output. If the oceans do indeed begin to cool off, it could begin to recover the melting ice caps, and restore a sense of balance to earth as a whole.

In other words, we are pretty much at a breaking point. If the oceans do not respond and begin to cool off, then we will be moving into a new climatological regime, as many scientists predicted years ago.

And my fourth belief, is the belief in a higher power. I am not one to talk too much about religion here, but you have to wonder when you stop and think about everything that’s going on. Are we really in control, or is there a higher power in control? I believe that a higher power, God, Mother Nature or whoever you may believe in, has the master plan for everything in this universe. Whether we want to believe it or not, we are not in control of the climate, natural forces, or acts of God here. If we are lucky enough to be on this earth long enough, we may see answers behind the questions someday.

Just my two cents! As I said, we could discuss this topic for hours on end! I find it fascinating, yet unsettling all at the same time! Always feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further, or comment, or have any questions! I will try and continue to write short segments about this topic in future blogs, to initiate dialogue.

As mentioned earlier, summer came in with a vengeance last week! This was a welcome change from the cold, raw March and April we endured! Does this mean a hot summer is on the way? I would not go that far with that statement just yet. My official summer forecast we be published 3 weeks from today! I will say this, after this week, May is looking on the toasty side. This is welcome news for folks looking to enjoy some early summer weather! Thereafter, the early start to summer may continue into June, which is looking hotter than normal for a change.

On average, Boston typically receives approximately 12 to 15 days of 90 degree days in any given summer. Boston already has one day in the books, as last Thursday hit 90 degrees in Boston for the first time this season! Last summer, Boston hit 90 degrees 12 times, which fell short of the 14 I was predicting for the city. How many 90 degree days am I expecting this summer?? You will have to check out my forecast on May 28th!

It will be a great week for camping and hiking this week. Seasonable temperatures and little rain will make it pleasant to be outdoors. As for the beach, water temperatures are still recovering from winter levels. In addition, cooling seabreezes will make it feel a bit chilly along the coast. It’s still a bit early for real beach weather my summer friends! Temperatures will warm up after this week, heading towards the Memorial Day weekend. Consistent beach weather may have to wait until June, which is perfectly normal around here.

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week another 8 out of 10. This will end up being a more typical week of spring weather around here. Expect increasing sunshine for the rest of today, amidst some high cloudiness. A colorful sunset watch is in effect for this evening! A seabreeze will keep things cooler along the coast, with highs only in the upper 50’s. Go about 10 miles away from the water, and you will enjoy temperatures in the middle 60’s.

Tonight will be fair and cool, with lows in the 40’s regionwide. Tuesday will be touch warmer, with plentiful sunshine. Temperatures may reach 70 inland, but deduct 10 degrees along the coast. At least it’s 60 and not 40! Fair weather will continue tomorrow night, with lows near 50.

Wednesday will be even a touch warmer than tomorrow. With a few more clouds, temperatures will warm to the lower 70’s inland, and mid 60’s along the coast.

For the period of Thursday through Sunday, I’m expecting generally dry weather. However, there will be some disturbances moving through the flow that will be difficult to pin down timing. At this point, I am not anticipating any washouts. There could be some scattered showers at any point through the weekend. At the same time, there will be periods of fine spring weather, this includes Mother’s Day! Temperatures will be comfortable, with highs mainly in the 60’s and 70’s.

Well that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be dropping more hints about our summer forecast. I will also talk about some interesting events happening globally…such as the volcanic activity in Hawaii, wow! I will also have a new outdoor activity forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the seasonable weather, and thank the extremes for it!

~Happy Mother’s Day to all, including my Mom!~

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Boom! 4/30/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, the weather wasn’t too bad compared to what it has been. Saturday was a stellar spring day, with sunny skies, light winds, and a very comfortable temperature of 70 degrees! I was very happy to see the nice weather for what I believe was the 22nd annual Shamrock Shootout street hockey tournament held on Temple Street in West Roxbury on Saturday.

This is a great family event for kids and adults alike! Typically held around St. Patrick’s Day, the event has been postponed to later dates in recent years due to excessive snowfalls and very cold temperatures. I hope those who attended enjoyed! Sunday was cooler, and started off dark and rainy. However, the sun came out during the afternoon, leading to a pleasant surprise to many, including myself!

Last week brought many firsts. For one, we finally declared that winter was over! The weather last week only reinforced this declaration, with warmer temperatures, especially on Monday and Tuesday. A storm system brought rainy weather on Wednesday. The nice nice weather returned again on Thursday, only to turn rainy again on Friday. This is fairly consistant at what April weather is all about. They don’t say April showers bring May flowers for nothing! So we should expect some rain this time of year.

With the warmer temperatures, we began to see a marked increase in green up across the area. The forsythia are finally out in full force, as well as daffodils and many other colorful flowers. I also noticed an increase in trees beginning to bloom, and the grass is finally turning green! All these are encouraging signs that spring is indeed here, and we can finally close the book on winter 2017-18!

Before we completely close the book on winter, I did want to write an overview on our fascinating winter. For meteorologists and weather enthusiasts as myself, winter 2017-18 was one for the record books! We may have received more snow in other winters, but find me a winter that featured so many challenging storms to track, extreme cold, and record warm weathr too! Who would of ever thought with such a unprecedented warm autumn, that we would of been in for such a winter?

The key was the sudden change to colder weather in mid November. I have mentioned it many times before, but this is a very important sign I look for during late autumn, as to what type of a winter we may be in for. Had that unseasonably warm weather continued through the end of November, the winter, as a whole, would of been much less severe. This, along with my other 16 signs I implement, pointed to a winter of wild extremes, with above average snowfall! Had it not been for certain global telecnnections, I may have been forecasting a winter similar to 2014-15. Thankfully, it did not reach that criteria. Nonetheless, frequent winter storms kept us all on our toes from December through April!

So, how did I do? Overall, I was very pleased with the forecast issued back on the Monday before Thanksgiving. In most cases, it verified much like I had anticipated it. There were some timing issues, as I did not envision the winter to linger deep into March and April as it did. As I mention in nearly all long range seasonal forecasts, I give the numbers, but it’s always an adventure on how we arrive there!

For instance, my call for snowfall in Boston was for between 60 and 70″. By the end of February, I most certainly had some doubts whether the forecast was going to verify or not! Here we were, with only 37″ of snow accumulated at the end of February, with March typically averaging 8″ or so in Boston. As luck would have it, a whopping 23″ more fell between March and the start of April, to bring the total up to 59.9″ for the season. As you can see, if you want to be technical about it, I was off by a tenth of an inch!

Other highlights of winter 2017-18 would be the bitter cold. In Boston, it was the coldest start ot any year on record! This led to harbors and bays freezing over, and icebergs and slushy waves down on Cape Cod! Still others will remember this winter for the severe coastal flooding and erosion of our coastline. This was partly due to the massive Greenland Block that developed during March, forcing large ocean storms to turn into viscious nor’easters! We started off the New Year with quite a severe blizzard in Boston on January 4th, when 14″ of snow fell, whipped by storm force wind gusts, and record coastal flooding, in some cases exceeding the Great Blizzard of ’78!

We also had a very active December, with our first snowstorm occurring on December 9th. We then had a very significant ice storm across the Boston area a week before Christmas. The Boston area was then treated to a surprise White Christmas, when a fast moving storm dropped 3 to 6″ of wind driven snow along with thunder during the Christmas morning! This introduced a record cold snap. that lingerd until January 10th.

February brought new meaning to the word extreme winter weather, when many saw their warmest February on record! Nevertheless, Boston still managed to receive two snowstorms, bringing the month to near average in that department.

The real show waited until March! The month began with a historic two day nor’easter, which featured record coastal flooding to many Massachusetts coastal communities. While this storm brought mainly rain in Boston, the next nor’easter began as rain, then changed to a wind driven heavy wet snow, resulting in severe tree damage, and widespread power outages. Just a week later, Boston was hit with yet another nor’easter, when between 15 and 18″ fell in the city, and up to 2 ft in many suburbs just west of Boston! Shortly thereafter, a fourth nor’easter threatened, but a last second shift spared us a big hit.

Storms continued to pummel the area even into April, with the focus shifting to northern New England, where many ski resorts recorded one of the snowiest March and April on record! Although many are now closed, there will be snow on some of the slopes deep into May, even June in some cases! Last year, the snow did not completely melt on Mt. Washington until July 18th. I can envision it lasting even a bit deeper into the summer this year! WoW!

Though eratic, temperatures averaged a bit below average as a whole here in Boston this past winter. This verified very well with my forecast which called for near to slightly below normal temperatures for the Boston area. I was also pleased with the forecast for higher than normal snowfall throughout much of the region, including all ski resorts! If I was a bit off, it may of been on the Cape, when many severe storms featured heavy rain or mixed precipitation. Placing all these factors together, I would give myself a B+ for a grade this winter forecast. Considering the difficulty level in making this forecast, I will take it!

Hard to believe it’s the last day of April! Many will not be sad to see this ‘false’ spring month go. Though we had some decent days recently, the month as a whole will be remembered for colder & wetter than normal weather, with frequent bouts of frozen precipitation, and a Marathon Monday storm, that will soon not be forgotten. Nevertheless, the seasons forge on! A delayed but not denied spring is in the offing!

May looks to get off to a much warmer and dryer start than April! Computer models are conflicting, but if I were to give a forecast for the month of May, I believe it’s going to actually average a bit warmer than normal, with normal amounts of rain. We typically start off May with high temperatures in the low 60’s, and end the month with highs in the low 70’s. May averages about 3 and half inches of rain. This goes in line with a much quicker start to summer this year, only to fade earlier come late August and September. My official summer forecast comes out in only a few short weeks!

As we transition into May, thoughts turn to outdoor activities such as camping and hiking! The weather for this week looks promising. Summer temperatures will surge all the way up to the Canadian border, only to cool off to normal levels by this weekend. If you are planning to do some hiking in the mountains, please keep in mind that they are coming off a very snowy winter. Snow is still be deep in the woods and higher terrain of northern New England.

As the snow melts up north, thoughts turn to gardening down here in southern New England. While many have already begun planting, there are some risks. Average last frost typically occurs around May 15th across the interior of Massachusetts. I have seen cold nights linger even into early June around here. At some point, you have to just start getting it going. There’s always a chance of a unseasonable cold snap, but the it’s the exception not the rule. So I would say go for it! Except for tomatoes, which you should hold off until Memorial Day weekend.

Now for your weekely outdoor spring activity forecast. I would give this week a solid 8 out of 10! Watch for unstable weather for the rest of your Monday. A cold pool aloft is currently swinging through New England. This results in unstable conditions, with building clouds and afternoon showers. This actually brought some accumulating snow to higher elevations of Vermont earlier today! Around here, expect chilly weather, with building clouds, and a chance of afternoon showers. High temperatures will only be in the upper 40’s!

As the sun sets, skies will tend to clear overnight. This will be one of those chilly nights I was talking about above, with lows in the 30’s across rural areas, and low 40’s across urban areas and along the coast.

Tuesday will feature more sunshine, and warmer temperatures. As the cold pool aloft pivots out of New England, temperatures will respomd, with highs near 70 degrees! Fair weather will dominate tomorrow night, with lows mainly in the 40’s and low 50’s.

As southwesterly wind will strengthen for Wednesday through Friday, sending temperatures up into the middle 80’s across much of the region! Hello summer! Even up north, temperatures will easily make a run at the 70’s! This is going to result in an explosion of blooms across the region, with tree pollen becoming a huge factor by weeks end.

Wednesday looks to be the sunniest day. However, if a front holds off, Thursday could be fairly sunny too. A cold front will begin to push towards New England on Friday, with an increase in clouds. If we see enough sun, temperatures could reach the low 80’s again. However, there’s also the chance at some showers or even a thunderstorm later in the day, which may hold temperatures down a bit. As the front clears the region, somewhat cooler and drier air will flow into the region this weekend, with highs in the 70’s on Saturday, and mid 60’s on Sunday, with mainly dry conditions.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be beginning to discuss the summer forecast in greater detail, as we approach the forecast on Memorial Day weekend. I will also have a outdoor activity forecast, which includes a hiking, camping, and beach forecast! Certainly nice enough on Wednesday and Thursday of this week to take a trip to the beach! Don’t go in the water just yet, it’s still only in the 40’s! In the meantime, say so long to winter…as we head straight into summer! Happy May, everyone!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Seeing Is Believing! 4/23/18

Hello! Happy Earth Day & welcome to spring! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather this past weekend! The weather featured brilliant sunshine, light winds, and mild temperatures…just what the doctor ordered! While walking out the door this morning, signs of spring are not signs any longer, it’s here! The warm sunshine over the weekend did wonders in perking up green up! Though not quite ready for mowing, the grass is beginning to turn green, the forsythia are blooming, and many flowers are popping up all over the place. Yes, it’s a case of delayed, but not denied!

If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you probably understand that winter is my favorite season. Always has been since I was a kid! This is not to say I don’t like the other seasons, I most certainly do. But if I had to classify them, I would say winter first, fall second, summer third, and spring fourth. With all that being said, I must admit, there was a refreshing look to the landscape as I walked out the door this morning. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and the colors of spring were brightening up the dull gray landscape abound!

This is what we live for, no? I have said it to many friends who complained that the winter was too long. How can you really appreciate the spring, if we don’t receive some harsh winter weather? After I mention that, many agree! And now, we are only beginning to reap the benefits! What makes New England special is our four distinct seasons we enjoy. Our geograpghic location on earth places us in the perfect spot to enjoy all four seasons. Yes, I know, winter seems soooo long! Certain meteorological factors can ‘adjust’ our seasons to make them longer than others, in any given year. There’s just not enough time this week, but in another post, I will explain why I think some seasons overstay their welcome, such as this winter!

Speaking about long winters, many asked me over the weekend whether I believe this winter is over! If the driving nor’easter we had last Monday during the Marathon wasn’t enough, then the wet snow & sleet falling last Thursday morning drove many to the breaking point! As bad as it was, Marathon Monday could of been a lot worse! We were so close to having to face the decision of postponement for the first time in 122 years! Had it been just a few degrees colder, we would of been dealing with an icy mix of sleet and wind driven wet snow, especially across the inland portion of the race course.

Cold air from the previous day retreated just enough to the north, to allow for a miserable wind driven cold rain to fall. Yuck! As this storm moved into the Gulf of Maine, it stalled. With cold air still in place up north, many ski resorts received a tremendous amount of heavy wet snow for the rest of the week! I saw many pictures from resorts such as Wildcat, Okemo, Stowe, Mt Snow, and Sunday River at what appeared to be mid winter conditions! This was truly the winter that would not end!

Getting back to the original question…is it over?? As I told my friend, it’s never really over until after May 10th. This was the latest snowfall ever recorded in Boston, which occurred back in 1977. I’m sure it’s happened many times before in history, but this is what we have records on since 1872, which is quite a long period of time. I’m not going to say anything official, but if there’s any year when some kind of freak May snow could occur, it would be this one! Just last year, Mt Washington received a massive snowstorm with 33″ on Mother’s Day! Snow does will always occur in the mountains, during May.

With that being said, the odds greatly favor Boston’s snow season to be over. While it would never shock me to see some wet snowflakes in the air, I do believe the accumulation in the city is done. However, this brings us into our second season, when it’s still cold and raw out, just no longer cold enough to snow! You’ve seen it on tv, perhaps even experienced it, with folks bundled up with blankets and coats at Red Sox games, with temperatures in 40’s!

While the snow may be over, I wish I could say the same thing about the cold. Looking over some of the long range forecasts, chilly weather may persist even into May this year. This does not mean keep the winter coat by the door. But…don’t pack it away for good just yet. There still may be a few cold, damp days in May, that would require a winter coat. No doubt, May can be so cruel.

Just when you think we’re heading into summer, you remember that it truly is the transition month here in New England, and can feature some awfully, chilly raw days. On the flip side, May can also feature some very pleasant, warm days! Just last year, Boston experienced its earliest heat wave on record during May! So the bottom line, the outlook for the rest of the spring shows weather that is overall cooler than normal, along with slightly wetter than normal conditions through early June. No worries! We will have some some pleasant weather to offset the chill, just to remind us that spring is truly here!

Because of the extended winter, believe it or not, meteorological summer is only 5 weeks away! As a reminder, my official summer forecast will not be released until May 28th. Before that, I will be discussing my summer thoughts so you will have a good idea as to what I’m expecting. So far at this early juncture, I don’t see any strong signal either way for cool, hot, or somewhere in between. As I have mentioned before, summer is much harder to forecast than winter, in my opinion.

There never is a clear signal for the summer. It can show cool, then change to hot and humid on a dime. Jet srteam winds retreat into Canada, are pretty much non existant. In addition, teleconnections from around the globe usually offer no help. For this summer, it appears as if we will be transitioning from La Nina (cold water off South America) to El Nino (warm water off South America coast). If this cycle sounds familiar to you over the last several years, you would be correct! The Pacific Ocean cycles between La Nina and El Nino, every two to three years. This oscillation plays a very important role as to what kind of weather we see here in New England.

There are many other global factors that determine what kind of weather we will have in any given season. While the ocean temperatures play a crucial role, other factors such as solar radiation, volcanic activity, and cloud cover all play a role. Precipitation is also a very important factor. Dry winters and springs often lead to very hot summers, due to feedback effect. Same is true for very wet winters and springs. The sun has to work extra hard to evaporate the moisture from the ground. If it’s too cloudy and wet, it keeps temperatures cooler than what you would normally expect.

Right now, my early call for this summer, is for a slightly cooler & shorter summer than recent years. In fact, this year as a whole looks cooler than previous years, with winter getting going earlier next year. This does not mean no summer this year! I’m still expecting quite a pleasant summer. Many would be glad to hear I’m expecting less humidity than last summer, which means drier, more pleasant weather to be out of doors.

It could also mean the perfect equilibrium of cool air to our north, and warm air to our south, mixing just right over New England! I measure how hot our summers are, by how many 90 degree days we receive. Boston typically receives around 13 days of 90 + degree heat in a average summer. It’s just too early to tell from now to throw out a number. As we move closer to my forecast, I will hone in on this number, and give everyone my best educated guess. I have been pretty much on point the last several years, so stay tuned for that number!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Look for spectacular weather to continue for the rest of your Monday! Watch for tons of sun, with a deep cobalt blue sky. Temperatures will warm up to about 64 degrees inland, and cool to 58 degrees along the coast with a light seabreeze. This seabreeze will be light, and will extend only about 5 miles within the coast. But if you’re going to be at the beach, a light jacket may be required.

Tonight will feature clear and chilly weather. There may be some areas of patchy frost once again across rural areas, with temperatures in the low 30’s. Please note that it is not recommended to begin the growing season outside of Rt 128. Frost will still be an issue even into May. Along the coast and urban area, temperatures will be milder, with lows dropping to near 40 degrees.

Tuesday will be a transition day. Though it may start off with brilliant sun, clouds will be on the increase after 12 pm. Only high clouds at first, which will give the sun a hazy look to it. As the high pressure moves off the coast, a southwest wind will develop, which will boost temperatures to the mid to even a few upper 60’s across much of the region. You can deduct at least 10 to 15 degrees along the south coast, as the wind acts as a seabreeze down there.

Thickening clouds will be the theme Tuesday evening. Later on, well after midnight and most likely towards dawn, rain will begin to overspread the region from south to north. Winds will begin to freshen out of the east.

For Wednesday and into Wednesday night, expect periods of rain. A storm will track north up the coast, and will likely pass west of Boston, up into central New England. This will keep us wet and mild, with southeasterly winds. With the rain and wind off the ocean, it will still be about 10 degrees cooler than today and Tuesday across the region…so highs will be in the mid 50’s. This will not be as strong as the storm on Marathon Day, but expect pretty much a washout nonetheless, with around a half inch to one inch of rain. It will also be warm enough for plain rain even up in the mountains this time, for those who may be wondering.

The air behind the storm may be a bit unstable on Thursday. This means any early sun, would generate puffy cumulus clouds, which may lead to a few isolated showers, but no washout is anticipated. Temperatures should bump back up into the 60’s.

Expect similar weather on Friday. a fast moving storm may clip the region later Friday and Friday night, with a few showers. Thereafter, temperatures may cool down a bit heading into next weekend. Does not look like anything cold, just a bit cooler, with highs in the upper 50’s during the day, and 30’s at night. Overall, the weekend looks dry, but I can’t rule out a few showers Saturday night.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I plan on giving my winter review with a grade! Oh boy! I will also review April, and have my outlook for the month of May. I will also begin an outdoor camping and gardening segment, for those interested in those outdoor activities! In the meantime, actions speak louder than words, lucky for us, Mother Nature feels the same way! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Marathon…Winter! 4/16/18

Hello! Happy Patriots Day & Happy Marathon Monday! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! The weather left a lot to be desired for, though Saturday wasn’t too bad! In light as to what’s been going on, I’m not sure whether I should mention to everyone just how warm it was not too far away from us this past Friday and Saturday. But I will! After a long winter, a huge bubble of warm to almost hot weather developed across the eastern part of the United States at the end of last week. While it reached the 60’s in many locations here in New England, temperatures soared into the 70’s and 80’s from southwest Connecticut and across much of the mid-Atlantic region. In fact, many locations warmed all the way up into the upper 80’s! Wow!

The party came to a crashing end on Sunday, as a very strong backdoor cold front blasted through the region, sending temperatures back to mid winter levels yesterday. While we saw temperatures fall some 30 degrees from Saturday, some areas in the mid-Atlanic saw temperatures plummet up to 50 degrees! Oh, it was a wild day of weather! I took a drive up to Millennium Park here in West Roxbury to watch the whole thing unfold!

First, some folks have been asking me just what the heck is a backdoor cold front? This is a good question. A backdoor cold front is a meteorological term used for a cold front that moves backwards, or from east to west, instead of the traditional west to east. In New England’s case, a backdoor front typically moves from northeast to southwest. Why does it occur, and why is it so frigid after it moves through?

Why it occurs is probably easier to explain than how it occurs. As you know, winter is refusing to leave this year. If it seems like the marathon of all winters, I would agree! The nasty weather this weekend can be traced back to a massive April storm, which crashed into California last week, and slowly has been tracking eastward across the middle of the country. This storm has fed off an extreme thermal gradient for this time of year. Bitter cold weather is persisting in southern Canada. Meanwhile, summer heat attempted to surge north. This fueled a very intense cyclone, bringing a variety of weather hazards across the country. Many areas of the upper midwest not only endured through their largest blizzard of the season, but some areas such as Green Bay, Wisconsin saw their second largest snowfall ever recorded! Other locations such as Minneapolis witnessed their largest April snowstorm in history!

This is a large, multi faceted storm, which has been affecting us here in New England since yesterday. As mentioned above, yesterday was a wild weather day here in much of New England. Here in Boston, we set an all time record low high temperature for April 15th. It had never been thais cold for that date here in Boston, since 1881! Typically, when a storm tracks into the upper midwest like this, we would be enjoying record warm temperatures! However, this pattern is so complex, this was not the case this time. And to be honest, we’re very lucky that we too are not dealing with a record snowstorm here in New England.

As been the case through most of this spring, high latitude blocking, in the form of the Greenland Block, is clogging up the usual tracks of spring storms, resulting in out of season events, which includes late season cold and snow. With the block in higher latitudes, this surpresses the jet stream further to the south, slows down storms, and also allows cold air to pool in Canada, which adds fuel to these late season storms.

Watching all this unfold was nothing short of fascinating! As mentioned above, a storm taking this track typically means record warm temperatures for us here in New England. So, what happened? As deep low pressure moved into the Great Lakes, strong high pressure began to build in eastern Canada. At the same time, another massive storm was spinnning off of Newfoundland. This, in conjunction with the high pressure in Quebec, began to drive a cold front from northeast to southwest across New England, then further south into the mid Atlantic region. Colder than normal ocean temperatures mutes warm air from arriving too quickly here in coastal New England. The cold ocean helps push the cold air from the ocean into the coastal plain, especially this time of year.

Because of the block, the forward motion of the storm in the Great Lakes has stalled. This forces energy transfer to the mid Atlantic coast. If this sounds like a winter time set up, you’re correct! This is how we get some of our larger nor’easters in the winter! This storm is now intensifying in the mid Atlantic region, and is what’s bringing us a windswept driving rainstorm today!

While it was plenty cold enough for snow yesterday, temperatures have warmed up just enough, to result in mainly rain across much of eastern Massachusetts today. However, this was not the case yesterday! As the backdoor cold front moved through, a surge of very cold air came in off the ocean, resulting in frequent snow squalls across much of the region yesterday. I was giving my sister Pam a play by play account as I was watching the snow squalls from on top of Millennium Park roll in off the ocean like sheets of fog! With the wind blowing up to 40 mph, it truly felt like a real nor’easter! There was not much accumulation, however in one of the heavier squalls, the ground did briefly turn white!

This was not the end of the story. As the storm began to develop down the coast last night, winds began to steadily increase off of the ocean, resulting in the atmosphere moistening up across much of southern and central New England. After early sleet here in Boston, temperatures warmed up just enough for mainly rain to fall inside of Rt 128. However, it was a different story north and west from here. It turned into a very icy situation, with many hours of snow, sleet and freezing rain falling, resulting in icy road conditions and a very wintery scenario indeed!

The weather today could be one of the worst, for the running of the 122nd Boston Marathon. The storm is only slowly moving up the coast, and intensifying all the way. Because of the strong high pressure to our north, the pressure gradient is increasing, resulting in very gusty easterly gales, blowing right into the runners bodies. In addition, periods of torrential downpours are moving across the region today, adding to the misery of the runners and spectators.

In many years, thousands of folks are out enjoying mid spring weather, wearing shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, and enjoying the warm sun at Marathon parties. Back on 2012, we saw temperatures close to 90 degrees…this is not the case this year! Nevertheless, good luck to all participating! Certainly a tough break for all who spent many hours and made such dedication in training for this event.

Briefly switching gears, many are anticipating the spring timetable. If I don’t do it now, I’m afraid it may need to be cancelled for the year. We are running a good three weeks behind schedule. Interesting to note, this was the same scenario back last fall, when we were running a good three to four weeks behind schedule due to too much warm weather. It’s no secret Mother Nature loves to balance things out! What’s fair is fair!

With that being said, it will not take too much to get things cooking. A few warm days, and the grass will quickly respond. I have seen the Forsythia begin to bloom. Trees will need quite a bit of coaxing before they feel safe enough to bloom. Typically, Boston runs on a six month cycle with mowing grass. Mowing season begins May 1st, and ends on October 31st. Leaves are typically fully bloomed by mid May or so. And it’s normally safe to plant tomatoes by Memorial Day. Last frosts in the city average April 10th, but can be a full 4 to 6 weeks later in the suburbs and up north. We are running behind schedule in all accounts this year! Looking at some of the long range charts, we may not be fully in the clear of winter’s chill until around Memorial Day or so this year. Ouch!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10, weighted heavily on the weather expected for next weekend. For the rest of today, expect a washout! Be prepared for sheets of torrential rain, strong winds, and possibly even a few thunderstorms later this afternoon. With winds whipping in off the ocean, temperatures will not get too warm, perhaps close to 50 by days end, as the center of the storm tracks close to us.

Later tonight, the storm will begin to pull out, and we will be left with a brisk west/southwest wind, and clearing skies. It will turn chilly, but not cold, with lows mainly in the 30’s and 40’s.

Tuesday may start off with some sun, but a pocket of instability air above will be moving across New England. This may bring more snow showers to the mountains, and possibly a few rain showers down here. It will be brisk, with highs in the lower 50’s. Skies should clear out again tomorrow night, and temperatures will cool off into the 20’s in rural areas, and 30’s in the urban areas.

Wednesday looks like it’s shaping up to be a decent day with a mixture of sun and clouds, and a brisk west wind. High temperatures will be closer to seasonable norms, with highs in the lower to mid 50’s.

We may take another step back on Wednesday night and Thursday. A fast moving storm will be tracking across the country, and will likely pass just south of New England. Most will see a period of rain and showers move through, which may linger into Thursday. Across the interior, and up in elevated areas, this too may bring a round of wintery precipitation and wet snowfall. This is partly due to the storm tracking south of New England. This places us on the colder side of the storm, with north to northeast winds. Nonetheless, I do believe the wintery precipitiation will be confined to the hiils and mountains of New England, not the coastal plain.

This storm should continue to pull away, and we should expect clearing skies on Friday. It will continue to be on the coolish side, with highs in the lower 50’s for many. Expect clear and chilly weather overnight on Friday.

Right now, the good news I have for you today, is that I’m expecting generally fair and dry weather for many over next weekend. With temperatures close to seasonal levels, it may be great day to do some spring skiing? There’s plenty of snow left up in many northern ski resorts, where many areas have gotten pounded with winter storms over the past two months or so. Temperatures should mainly run in the mid to upper 50’s around here, and mid to upper 40’s up north.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be elaborating a bit more on our delayed spring timetable. I also would like to post my summer preview for planning purposes. Hard to believe the start of meteorological summer is only 6 weeks away! My official forecast will not be published until Memorial Day. I may also have my winter recap and grade myself for the forecast! In the meantime, it may be a Marathon Winter, but think of what I said on how Mother Nature likes to balance things out!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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