Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Another blustery and cold day is on tap, but it won’t be quite as wintry as yesterday. I could hear the wind still blowing the bird feeders around this morning and the thermometer by my bedside read an even 30F. The winds actually have helped to keep temperatures from getting even colder which is a good thing. Wind tends to mix up the air and not let the cold air settle to the ground. Some trees such as my cornus mas are already in bloom. Although these plants normally bloom this early, a night of temperatures in the lower 20s would hurt the blossoms. Tonight will be another cold night with lows inland in the upper teens and lower 20s. Along the coast it will stay in the middle and upper 20s throughout the night.
I'll be updating the progress of the milder air on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
Today, high pressure will continue to build into the region. Very dry air in combination with the brown grass and leaves has created an elevated fire danger. To the south, across Connecticut and into Virginia, there is a red flag warning in effect. These warnings are often issued in the spring before the vegetation is green and the air is dry. This means that the risk of brush fires is even higher in those areas. Even without an official warning, it’s a good idea to be especially cautious when burning anything outside this time of year.
Yesterday felt like the middle of winter and the fact it was April made the cold sting just a bit more. Today will not be quite as chilly, but still below what you would expect or probably want this time of year. Finally, the high pressure that brought this return to winter to the area will push out to see tomorrow and milder air on the back of this system will flow north. Temperatures tomorrow will reach into the upper 40s and lower 50s.
The next forecasting challenge comes on Friday when another coastal storm will form and threaten the area. Right now the steadiest rain will stay to our south. There can be a few rain and even snow showers from this system Friday night with the greatest chance for any precipitation south of Portland. Sunday looks dry to start, but there will be some clouds, especially in the afternoon. Temperatures will recover to near in the afternoon. A weak storm and front pushing across the area can produce a few showers. Across the higher terrain, a few snowflakes could mix with the rain. Sunday won't be a washout, but if you have outdoor plans, the morning looks driest.
Early next week there is the chance for a rush of warm air into the area for a day. "Warm" this time of the year would put readings into the 60s. This is certainly not written in stone yet. Looking further into the future, both computer models are bringing chilly and damp air to the region sometime early to mid-week next week.
April and early May often see a pattern of damp and cloudy weather that can last several days. Check out the image below. This shows the temperature and precipitation trends as forecast by on model for the next 8 days. While it might not be exactly accurate, it does give an idea of the upcoming trends. Don’t read into the specifics; rather look at the overall ups and downs in temperature and precipitation. At the end of the forecast period, you can see the temperature and dew point lines meet indicating a relative humidity of 100% and thus the reason for my concern about very damp weather next week.
Warm air has a very hard time moving into Maine in April. The cold ocean and the cold land to the north act as a block to the mild air south of the region. It can be a frustrating ride into warmer weather when friends in Connecticut have temperatures in the 70s and we are stuck in the 40s.
I'll be updating gardening tips and weather information on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
Gardening this week Many of you have ornamemental grasses in your yard. These grasses are quite beautiful in the summer and fall, look horrible this time of the year. There are a few things you can do right now to help get those grasses looking good early in the season.Tweet
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.