Wednesday May 29, 2013 | 06:59 AM
Posted by David Epstein

Knowing we have a couple of  days of warm weather on the way, you can’t imagine how exciting it is to a gardener to hear the sound of rain at 5AM.  Bleary eyed I run to the radar hoping that the extent of the showers is large and that the rain won’t be over quickly.  This morning we find widely scattered showers crossing the region.  After these showers end, there won’t be a lot of rain left behind.

I'll be updating the forecast for the upcoming weekend on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Unlike me, if you are a commuter having to drive to work on wet roads with scattered heavy downpours the sound of the rain might raise your anxiety level knowing the long drive to the office just got a bit longer. 

Big heat arrives behind warm fronts and this morning we find a warm front draped to our south. You can see this on the image below.  The warm front is the red line.  To the north of these fronts, cooler air sits waiting to be pushed away by the heat and humidity.  All fronts are different.  Some of these dividing lines can move through rather quickly going from the mid-Atlantic area to New England in a few hours, other take much longer sometimes days or never even making to this far north.  Our front is going to take some time to move through the area and therefore showers and the risk of thunderstorms are in the forecast through the overnight.

Our first band of showers will likely be over by the time some of you read this.  The only remnants will be the wet grass and puddles on the pavement.   Clearing behind these showers will not be quick and as a matter of fact, coastal areas my see very little sunshine today which is a good thing.  The reason sunshine today isn’t great is that the air going to become quite unstable.   This means that the potential for thunderstorms will increase if we get any sunshine. 

This afternoon and evening more storms will fire up to our west and begin to move eastward.  In those areas that get sunshine today these storms could be strong or severe with gusty winds, downpours and hail.   The threat for showers and thunderstorms will diminish later tonight.  Some of these storms could be strong to severe especially over interior parts of York and southern Cumberland counties and parts of southwest New Hampshire.

Heat Wave

A heat wave is defined, in this part of the country, as three or more days in a row where the temperature reaches or exceeds 90F.   The official records are kept at Portland which very often gets a sea breeze and prevents an official heat wave from occurring.  Many many times places like Sanford Fryeburg, Bridgton, and surrounding areas have a heat wave, but the coast doesn’t.   Even inland this first blast of heat most likely will not last three days,  so it won’t be a heat wave, but it will be close.

There might be a few clouds tomorrow morning, and then the sun and the heat are on as the air warms up towards 90F. Portland most likely won’t hit 90F, but Sanford and Bridgton will be close. Friday and Saturday will be the warmest of the next few days with several towns reaching 85-90F.

On Sunday, more clouds mixed with the sunshine with showers and storms likely in the afternoon and evening. While it will still be muggy, the air will start to cool and I expect highs to be in the upper 70s and lower 80s.  Next week turns much more seasonable for early June.

Gardening this week After moving plants around my yard the past several years because they keep getting bigger and bigger I decided to do a video about just how big some of those plants you see in the nursery will become. While they may only be a foot or two tall today, just wait a few years. Check out how big some of the more typical garden center trees and shrubs can grow. I would be interested in any stories you have from your own garden. Tweet me @growingwisdom

I'll be updating the forecast throughout the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

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About the Author

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, 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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