This morning our weather continues to be controlled by a stuck storm to the north. As this storm sits and spins, pieces of energy in the form of clouds, flurries and rain showers continue to rotate through the area. At times, it becomes cloudy with a quick round of precipitation followed by some breaks of sunshine and a dry period. This pattern is going to continue for the next couple of days.
I'll be updating my weather forecasts on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there.
This type of pattern brings cool air, but not arctic cold and although there isn't much sunshine, we don't have any big storms to contend with either. Speaking of big storms, there will be a major rain and snow storm affecting the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions this week. As the storm, now out west moves eastward it will spread heavy amounts of snow along its path.
Later this week, the storm will emerge off the coast, east of Delaware and Maryland and the pass safely out to sea, hopefully. I write hopefully for two reasons. First, I don't want another snowstorm. While it's only early March, I am ready for spring. Second, I am forecasting the storm to stay to the south of Maine and I obviously want to be correct and not have to change my forecast. The weather map for later this week shows a big storm, but the precipitation shield does remain south. As with any major storm the track can change dramatically, so I will be watching for any signs of a shift in the track with each new set of computer data.
Whether or not we get a storm later this week, the pattern is still looking quite wintry through the middle of the month. The jet stream, those winds which control the movement of storms and air masses, continues to be positioned quite far to the south. Additionally, the configuration of the jet is such that new storms are likely to form several times this month and threaten New England.
There are signs of spring, you just have to look for them. Check out any side of your house or a hill that faces south. You will notice the snow is completely gone, or much less in those areas. This is due to the additional solar radiation those areas receive. If you have crocuses planted along a foundation they can emerge two or three weeks earlier than in the middle of a garden in the woods. Also look very closely where the snow meets the ground. You will notice a small gap between the earth and the snow. (you have to find an area with some exposed ground) This gap is created partially by bacterial and fungal activity in the earth creating some heat. The heat can melt the snow from the bottom up! Try to push a stick into the ground through the snow, you might be surprised that the ground isn't frozen under the deep snow cover. You may also notice buckets on maple trees as some farmers have already started collecting the early sap for syrup this year. Life is waking up under there even if we aren't seeing it up here just yet.
Gardening this week Depending on how aggressive you want to be in the garden, March does begin planting season. Fava beans, peas, lettuce, radish, carrots, and other cold weather crops can be planted by the end of the month. Inside, you can start many of your seedlings this month. I generally start my tomatoes in the first couple of weeks of March, which is about 8 weeks before they will go into the ground. Early this month is also the time to prune your blueberry bushes. In this week’s video I show you how to keep your blueberry bushes healthy and yielding big, juicy berries. I'll be updating my weather forecasts on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there.
David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.
In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.
David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.
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