Tuesday, March 11, 2014
What a great morning across the area. Cool, crisp and with sunshine. This is the kind of weather I love in July. In looking at the weather maps this morning, I am feeling a need to sharpen my winter forecasting skills. It’s not because it’s cooler and there is a touch of fall in the air, rather because we have an east coast storm to watch and all the same questions I have to figure out in the winter are back.
There is a low pressure area off the Carolina coast early today and the exact track of this system will determine how much rain we see later today and overnight. The storm will have enough energy and moisture to bring a sizeable amount of rain to those communities closest to the center. Most of the rain will fall across coastal Main. This area of the state has the greatest potential for a quarter to half an inch of rainfall.
I expect the rain to continue to grow in coverage and move north and a bit west during the day today. The axis of the heaviest rain will be along the Maine Turnpike south of Lewiston. To the west of this line less rain will fall and by the time you get to the New Hampshire border there might just be a stray shower.
If this was winter I would likely be forecasting 3 to 6 inches of snow for Portland, 1 to 3 inches to the north and flurries in the mountains. Just like in winter, if our summer storm tracks a bit further west, the heavier rain will move towards the foothills. If the storm moves further out to sea, then we will see less in the way of rain at the coast. As clouds increase this afternoon, temperatures may cool from the mid 70s back to the upper 60s.
The rain will continue the first part of Friday before tapering off to showers in the afternoon. Along the coast the rain may last into the evening Friday. A great day is on the way for Saturday when there will be abundant sunshine and warm temperatures the lowers 80s. Sunday a renewed chance of showers shows up.
This forecast is highly dependent on this track of the storm. A deviation in the track further out to sea will end the rain earlier and result in less overall rainfall.
Tropical systems this year
If you have been to the ocean this summer you know how warm the water is. The map below shows sea surface temperatures for the area. Notice the extent of the 70 degree or higher water. Warmer water contains more potential energy and thus more moisture can fall. This current situation will become important in the upcoming weeks as hurricane season becomes more and more active. With water temperatures so warm, the potential for a tropical system to impact New England is higher than it has been in a long time.
On meteorologist I follow is Joe Bastardi and he is definitely honed in on this potential. He has stated that storms should be “stronger further north” which should cause us to take notice for the late summer and fall. While this doesn’t mean we are going to see a hurricane this year, I remain quite aware of what will eventually happen here.
When Irene struck two years ago power was out for many days. Since then there has been a lot of tree work done by the power companies, but we are not out of the woods. Were a true category one or two storm to move up over Long Island and just to the west of Boston, the tree damage done by Irene would seem minimal. In turn, power would be out for days to well over a week and what other problems manifest from there remains to be seen.
Gardening this week
Pests in the garden are a problem for any grower. There are now better and better organic controls for gardeners that allow good control without the harsh chemicals. Check out the video below and see how I am controlling some of the pests in my own garden this year.
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.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.