Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Portland and surrounding communities reached and exceeded the 90 degree mark yesterday. It appears likely many areas will reach the lower 90s again today, especially just a few miles inland.
This morning you should notice slightly drier air across the region. It's not that there isn't humidity, it's just that the level is less than yesterday at this time. During the afternoon it's going to feel hot again and the beach, lake, in the shade or simply inside is the place to be if you don't enjoy this weather.
The chart below is from the GFS model and shows the trend in temperature, humidity and moisture for the next week. Notice the high in Portland is forecast to get close to 90F through Saturday and then relief comes by Sunday. There is also some rain forecast from the showers and thunderstorms that will likely occur as the air mass becomes more unstable later this week.
You can't take what you see literally. This is but one model based on one forecast from today. This will change several times this week, but the overall pattern of heat and humidity will remain deeply entrenched right into the weekend.
This has been a hot July so far and with the heat of the next few days, I suspect the month could end up as one of the hotter Julys on record. This is starting to remind of 1988, a very hot summer across much of the country. Here in Maine, the humidity was never ending. I have one memory of that summer that will stick with me forever. I was working at Camp Kingswood in Bridgton as the boys unit director. The camp director and I would frequently meet in the walk-in freezer as a way to deal with oppressive heat. Luckily, I have access to air conditioning 25 years later.
All this heat is taking its toll on us as well as plants and animals. I recommend using the cooler mornings to check on your gardens. As temperatures approach or exceed 90F again, it’s going to be harder to work outside. A few suggestions would be to stake up perennials, weed, weed, weed, and notice which areas of the garden still might need some added water.
If you want to plant some new seedlings, there is certainly time to do that. The video below shows how I am growing lettuce in containers right now. I have a tray of seedlings I started two weeks ago which can be place in the ground in about a week.
I'll be updating the details of the weather on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
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.