Tuesday August 27, 2013 | 10:49 AM
Posted by David Epstein

A warm and sunny morning greeted us this morning. As I was walking the dogs around sunrise I thought how the air still has that warm weather scent to it. I know over the next few weeks this will change and be replaced by a cool crispness.

Disturbances will continue to move though the wind flow above us through Thursday. These areas will bring the risk of showers. Last night one of these crossed southern New England bringing showers there, but leaving us high and dry.

Humidity is going to be running high through most of Thursday before drier air replaces it for the weekend. While there is the mention of showers in the forecast through Thursday there will be many hours of sunshine and most of the time is rain free.

Thursday is a transitional day into what is going to be a great Labor Day weekend. Presently, I don’t see much risk of shower activity Thursday and the air will be drier with highs near that 80-degree mark. Friday through Sunday will be sunny, warm and dry with the highs getting into the upper 70s and lower 80s. Labor Day itself  will be great as well with more sunshine. There will be a front crossing the area sometime late in the weekend or on Monday. This could bring a few clouds and a quick shower, but on balance the unofficial close of summer looks fantastic.

Overall this month has been quite dry which can be good and bad. One plant that is thriving this summer (I think it thrives ever summer), is ragweed. If you are feeling like something is kicking off your allergies, ragweed is likely the culprit. I was reading a Facebook post of a friend I went to Lyseth Elementary with this morning and she quipped about hating the goldenrod.

I feel for the poor goldenrod plant. The Latin for the genius is solidago and solidagos are a part of the aster family. Most of you are not allergic to goldenrod. There are actually many cultivars of the plant and I have purposely planted several of them in my own garden. If you are looking for something to flower this time of the year that attracts bees and butterflies, goldenrods are a great choice and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

While we are dry here, it’s nothing compared to what’s occurring out west.

The fires on the other side of the country continue to burn out of control as the dry weather, the heat and the brush all make for the perfect firestorm. We are hearing this is the largest fire in California history which is why this fire is so dangerous.

I was playing with the fire statistics this morning and noticed while the number of acres burned seems to be increasing, the number of fires is actually down. The chart below shows the years with the greatest number of fires on record and those years are not recent. The chart below that shows the years with the greatest amount of acreage burned and those are more recent.  

I have no idea what this means, it’s just interesting and as Mark Twain quipped “there are lies, damned lies and statistics”.   As far as the fires what other variables might be behind the decrease in actual fires, but increase in the acreage they burn?  Something to think about I suppose.

Gardening this week

Tomatoes have been slow to mature this month. I believe the heat of July stunted the formation of fruit and this is one reason we are seeing fewer tomatoes than expected. In this video below, shot on my own camera, I show you what was going on with my own garden a few weeks ago. Not much has changed although I have been able to make a few jars of sauce. 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.

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About the Author

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.

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