Thursday, April 24, 2014
It was another great night for sleeping last evening with coolish dry air and mostly clear skies. The lack of heat the past week or so has been amazing. I am one of those people that hates the heat. I actually dislike it so much that I secretly count the days until mid-August when the chances of extreme heat tend to diminish. This year, I won't have to do any counting, at least at the first part of the month.
Our weather pattern is providing a flow of air that is generally coming from the northwest, not the south. This provides warm, but not hot days and comfortable night. Occasionally, like late tonight, a weather system will bring a brief bought of humidity and showers before a return to dry weather.
Today will end up mostly sunny. This afternoon there will some cloudiness beginning to increase to the south, but generally this is a great day. As clouds thicken overnight a period of showers will ensue. It will turn a bit muggy late at night ahead of a front.
Friday will see the rain end the morning and skies clear during the second part of the day. Highs the next couple of days will be in the middle and upper 70s.
Today is August 1st and the 8th month brings many changes, most of them in the lighting department. If you get up early you have definitely noticed the later sunrises. We have already lost over 30 minutes of daylight in the morning. In the evening, the sun is now setting a few minutes after 8PM and Sunday will be last 8PM sunset until next year. In total there is an hour less light than there was 6 weeks ago.
The sun isn't getting quite as high in the sky either. Around 1 PM, when the sun is highest (daylight savings pushes that mark out an hour) it will reach around 65 degrees above the horizon. By the end of the month it will be 10 degrees lower in the sky. The means the sun is weaker, shadows longer and the light starts to change the way it illuminates the landscape.
I love the late August light. It tends to have a more orange glow to it for a few hours each morning and before it sets each night. If you have an opportunity to get to the sea to watch either end of the day I highly recommend taking a camera.
As I alluded to, August also brings cooler temperatures. There have been some days with extreme heat this month and many past heat waves, but the chances of heat are diminishing, not increasing. You can clearly see on the chart below how typical temperatures decline this month. By the end of the month there are often a few inland areas that will see morning lows in the 40s. If our current pattern holds through the month, we won't see even one 90F degree day, but that is a big if. I can look out and say with reasonable confidence the next 10 days looks to be "heat free."
Gardening this week If you have a sunny spot and a good size container, how about planting carrots? Carrots can be successfully grown in containers and you will be surprised how many you will get. One of the most important things is to not over water the soil. Check out the video below showing how I recently planted a container of carrots. 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.