Sunday, March 9, 2014
Last week I wrote about the battle between the chilly and mild spring air that would take place this week. The question then was how far north would the warm air go and how long would it last? Today will be the nicest day of the next week and I suggest trying to get outside and enjoy some of it. Damp and chilly air will become firmly entrenched across southern Maine starting tomorrow afternoon and this means clouds, showers, and temperatures that will get colder, not warmer, each day until Friday.
The news isn't all gloomy this morning. It's opening day for Red Sox Nation and the sun will certainly be shinning on the Fenway faithful.
I have been fortunate to attend a few opening days at Fenway Park and they really are terrific. Weather is a huge player in April baseball. In 2003 I was invited to tag along with a friend on opening day at Fenway, unfortunately the game was postponed due to rain and I never was able to make it.
Postponing opening day isn’t unprecedented. In 1976 the same thing happened because of cold weather. The cold was pretty bad in 1984, when the high only reached 42 degrees. Rain again postponed opening day in 2009. Snow can happen in early April. On April 9, 1996 0.6” of snow officially was recorded and 2 years later on April 10, 1998 a mix of rain and snow fell. Both years the games went on as scheduled. Two of the nicer opening days in the past thirty years happened on April 8, 1988 and April 5th, 2010 when temperatures topped out at a balmy 72 degrees. On April 20th 1912 when the first official game was played at Fenway, there had already been two rain delays.
While there most likely won’t be a perfect game pitched this afternoon, the weather will be pretty close. The game starts just after 2 PM, but the festivities will be going on long before that. Around 11 AM I expect temperatures to be about 57 degrees with sunshine; by the time the game begins it will be reaching for the middle 60s and without much wind. The sunshine will be intense throughout the game and if you are sitting under cover, be sure to bring sunscreen to the game. You know that with the mild day there will be several shirtless guys who end up getting burned to a crisp, don’t be one of them.
This time of the year the sun is about as strong as it would be on a late August day regardless of the fact it’s not as warm. What is different this time of the year from later in the summer is the pollen. As the buds continue open this week pollen will be dispersed into the air in incredible numbers. As the birch trees flower, their catkins, (spikelike group of flowers) can each shed 3.9 million to 6 million pollen grains. Think about the number of catkins per tree and then the numbers of trees and you start to understand why your eyes might be a bit watery. Tree pollen will remain moderate to high for the next several weeks only falling when we get periods of rain.
If you aren’t going be at the game, this will be a great day to take lunch outside or to just take advantage of the longer amounts of daylight and have a barbecue for dinner. One of the things I love to do during these milder spring evenings is just take 20 minutes and sit outside with an adult beverage and enjoy the setting.
Without getting preachy, I really dislike how so much of our society isn’t able to carve out time to stop and notice what a great time of year it really is and how beautiful nature can be. I often wonder what all the rush is about, I can tell you how everyone’s story ends. I need to apply this thinking to myself when I am running around the yard with 10 different projects going at once and misplacing several different tools. I am glad no one is filming my spring craziness.
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.