Monday, March 10, 2014
After a warm and muggy night a pair of very hot days is on the way. Temperatures today, while warm, will remain below record levels. The record high in Portland is 94F and this is also the record for May. I don't think we will break it, although if winds don't turn to a sea breeze in the afternoon, we could hit 90F even in the Forest City. The point here is that it's going to be a very hot day by May and even summer standards. Inland areas will be in the lower 90s with Bridgton, Fryeburg and Sanford the hot spots this afternoon. The reason for the heat is the same as it often is during the summer.
An area of high pressure sits off the coast of the eastern seaboard and pumps warm and humid air into New England from the south. This high, often referred to as a Bermuda high is locked in place for a couple of more days.
If this was July or August, the high can sit for many days in a row, but since it's still late May/early June, the cooler drier air to the north still has some force and will break down the high later Sunday and Monday. This means our heat, while early, intense and near record breaking won't last a long time. The position of the high does allow the air quality to deteriorate. Therefore an air quality alert has been posted for the mid-coast of Maine and points further east. You might be surprise that Mount Desert Island has some of the poorest air quality in Maine as the are at the end of the dirty air train. The good news is that even with that said, there aren't a lot of days of bad air anymore as there was back 30 years ago. I'll be updating the air quality and heat forecasts Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
There will be plenty of sunshine the next two days and the chance for any showers is nearly zero. This doesn't mean a shower can't pop up in the mountains or foothills, it's just a very remote possibility. On Sunday clouds will keep temperatures a bit cooler and a few showers could occur in the early afternoon. Later Sunday evening a more widespread area of showers and storms will cross Maine and begin the end to the heat.
By Monday, cooler air will be in place and while humidity levels will take part of the day to truly drop, the rest of next week looks quite comfortable with temperatures in the 70s. I measured about 3 inches of rain since last Saturday and that has helped alleviate the short-term water issues many of us were seeing. With all this heat and adequate moisture, we have the perfect combination for optimal growth of trees and shrubs. You might find yourself needing to cut back a few things this weekend.
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.
Gardening this week You might not know it, but a disease that is affecting impatiens is going to be a problem again later this summer. This bacteria, which came over from Europe two years ago is now in over 30 states. I recommend not planting impatiens as the spores are airborne and likely will kill your plants later in July and early August just as they are looking great. I did a video on some alternatives to them here. Check it out.
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.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.