Yesterday was one of those mid-March days when you realize that we are closer to spring than the heart of winter. Temperatures reached the 40s to near 50F and with the abundant sunshine it really was one of the nicer afternoons so far this year. Occasionally, my work life allows me to take a break during the day. I was able to prune some roses, put down some organic fertilizer, and clean up the leaves around the stems of the shrubs. I am not sure if you get this way, but I actually feel giddy watching life as it emerges in early spring. I saw a tadpole swimming in the pond, noticed my snowdrops opening as well as a few crocuses that are showing some orange color. In some ways, the next 6 weeks are the best of the year to see nature change right before our eyes. I know that most people are stuck in an office and don’t get the chance to enjoy these days and I think that is unfortunate. Centuries ago this time of year, many us would be thinking about plowing the fields or going hunting. Light and temperature would have been a much bigger focus in our lives. Of course, significant numbers of us also would have died during the winter, so the tradeoff might be worth it.
I'll be updating my weather forecast for this week on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
A flow of air out of Canada is about to put the kibosh on my early spring enjoyment. Temperatures the next couple of days will struggle to get out of the 30s. For you math geeks, today is of course Pi day, happy calculating. The only saving grace is there won’t be much wind. Clouds will be more prevalent today and that will add to the chill of the air. Friday looks to feature more sunshine and slightly less chilly air. I expect clouds to show up in the afternoon. Highs will reach into upper 30s, several degrees below what we would expect for the ides of March. Saturday a small storm will cross south of New England. The clouds and precipitation from this storm should remain south of Maine. If you look in the southern sky Saturday afternoon you might see the high clouds from that storm. Temperatures will remain on the chilly side in the 30s, but great weather for winter activities.
Another shot of chilly air crosses the area late in the weekend and early next week. This cold air will be in place when a new storm moves towards the northeast corner of the United States early next week. Right now, the timing of this storm is such that Monday night and Tuesday will be the time of greatest impact. It’s too early to say exactly whether this storm brings rain or snow. There is the potential for significant amounts of precipitation as our stormy pattern continues. I suspect that many areas will see at least of coating of snow before a change to rain. Precipitation across southern Maine is running almost exactly normal so far this year. Last spring was on the drier side and Portland has seen 15% more overall precipitation than a year ago.
Once the storm passes, chilly air will continue for much of next week and it wouldn’t surprise me if we have a several days that stay in the mid-30s. The chart above shows the temperatures and precipitation forecast for the last week of the month. This is just one model, but it does give an indication that mild air will remain well south of the area. Spring may be here, but this year winter is going to linger a bit longer.
Gardening this week A very common problem with house plants is aphids. These sucking insects leave a residue on the leaves that can then cause a secondary infection on your plants. If you notice a black shoot-like coating on your houseplants, you probably have black sooty mold. This problem while not generally fatal to a plant can be an indication of an insect infestation. Check out this weeks video on black sooty mold and see if your plants have this issue. I'll be updating my weather forecast for this week on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
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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