Thursday, December 5, 2013
At the end of July I wrote about a big change in the pattern that would bring cooler and mostly drier air to southern Maine as we headed in August. As we head into the last week of the month, it appears this will end up being one of the nicest Augusts in a several years. Temperatures yesterday closed in on 90F, with Portland hitting 89F, one of the warmest readings in the state. Sanford did reach 90F for a short time in the afternoon.
Overnight a cold front passed through the area and the humidity fell dramatically. Today will be a very comfortable day with highs in the upper 70s. The weekend is looking fabulous with highs in the lower and middle 70s. It will be a bit cool in the morning and with a breeze off the water you might want to take a jacket or something if you go to the beach.
The sunshine continues for much of next week with just a chance for a few light showers in the Tuesday or Wednesday timeframe.
All this sunshine while great for vacationing and outdoor activity is starting to impact growers in the region. We have not had any measurable rain since the 9th of August and while rainfall for the month is below normal, it comes on the heels of a fairly wet start to summer.
If you think back to last August, we had over 6 inches of rain for the month, a much different scenario than this one.
Highs this time of year are typically in the 70s and there is less light so the soil doesn't dry out quite as fast as it would have 6 weeks ago. However, we need rain and droughts can crop up late in the summer and into the fall impacting fall crops.
The tropics continues to be very quite which isn't a bad thing. Florida and parts of the gulf coast and southeast United States have seen a lot of rain this summer. A tropical system that brings heavy rain and wind could be devastating if it occurred on saturated ground.
For us here in New England, I don't see any issues with tropical systems for the next week or two. This doesn't mean we are out of the woods, but you won't have to take your boat out of the water unexpectedly this month.
Late August still leaves lots of time to plant in the garden. You might feel like the gardens are waning this time of year and many plants are tired and don't look so great. However, you can plant turnip, beets, spinach, kales, carrots, lettuce, radish and choys for the next week or so and get a nice crop before the very cold weather sets in. I put a video at the end of today's blog that talks about cold weather crops in spring. You can apply this same logic to fall.
If you are not a vegetable gardener this is a great time to reseed a lawn. However, with the dry weather, be sure to water the seed lightly each morning and again later in the afternoon. You can also move perennials and many shrubs this time of year.
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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.