Wednesday, December 11, 2013
A chilly Saturday afternoon continues with a gusty breeze and temperatures struggling to make it to the 40s. It’s early April in Maine and temperature wise almost anything is possible. Our winds will turn to a warmer direction for Sunday and this means a much milder day. The problem will be that winds will still be brisk so although we will reach the 50s, it will feel cooler. Additionally, clouds will be on the increase to sunshine will not be as abundant as today.
The mild air will continue to stream northward Monday. More in the way of sunshine will make that day feel quite spring-like. Most of the region remains above freezing for all of the upcoming week. This is the time of year you can plant peas and put out cold weather crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and onions. The forecast turns tricky for the middle and end of the upcoming week as the jet stream will be exhibiting some fluctuations.
This time of year mild air is building to the south with cold air still in place over Canada and over the ocean to our north and east. The computer models I use to help make decisions about the forecast are differing quite a bit in the placement of the cold and warm air Wednesday and into next weekend. My favorite computer model, the European, has been consistent in keeping southern Maine in the cool and damp air next week. If you have lived in Maine for any length of time you know that cold moist air is often what sticks around the area well into May. Therefore, it wouldn't be unusual for it to be cloudy, cool and raw part of next week.
The boundary that will divide mild spring air from chilly air will oscillate through New England around Wednesday. If this boundary passed into southern Canada, as the American model is suggesting, temperatures would soar to the upper 60s and lower 70s, statewide. I don't expect this to be the case. While I can certainly be wrong, experience and climatology (what usually happens) suggest to me that the mild air will stay across southern New England, perhaps even closer to New York City.
Cold air is heavier and more dense than mild air and it takes a big push of warm air to dislodge cold air from an area. This is one of the reasons it's often hard in the winter to get the snow to change to rain much beyond a few miles of the coast. Last year we had very unusual prolonged periods of warmth in March and April before a cold snap in early May. This year, I expect our temperatures to ride a rollercoaster up and down before spring and eventually summer finally settle in.
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.