Thursday, December 12, 2013
A few showers will cross the area this morning. These showers mark the leading edge of a cold front moving past southern Maine. Behind this front, a shot of the chilly air, the coldest of the early fall season, will arrive. This air is so chilly a freeze warning and frost advistory is up for areas away from the coast. Some areas will see temperatures cold enough to kill tender plants.
If you are a gardener, I recommend covering your plants with row cover (you can buy online) or a light sheet or burlap. I don't recommend using tarps because they don't breathe and can actually cause more problems then not covering plants at all.
The tropics, while a bit more active, are still pretty quite. We are several days past the peak of the season and in about another 2 weeks, if we have still not see a major hurricane, the chances decrease rapidly it will occur this year.
As Ingrid weakens from a hurricane to a tropical storm and eventually just a depression it will bring flooding rains to parts of central Mexico. For that part of the world, the storm will cause mudslides and other issues, but there will be no impact to the US mainland.
In the night sky
There is some cool stuff going in the sky this week after dark. The sun is now going down before 7 PM and the full moon will light up the country side Wednesday and Thursday evenings. While the moonlight will be intense, you can still catch two planets in the west-southwestern sky at dusk. The images below show where Saturn and Venus will be located this week. The top image below is early this week, the bottom image is towards the weekend. The images are from http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance. The best nights for viewing will Tuesday and beyond.
As a cold front pushes by the area this afternoon, a few showers, mostly this morning can occur. During the second part of the day skies will brighten west to east. The best chance for seeing sunshine will be far western areas later in the afternoon.
Skies will clear tonight and this begins a great stretch of weather will a few very cold mornings and then some milder afternoons. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are going to be the coolest mornings of the year so far. Northern areas of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont could see a killing freeze, most likely Wednesday morning, but possible Tuesday as well.
I suspect a few of you will put the heat on for the first time this week as the lower sun angle combined with the chilly air, will force the interior of our homes to cool quite rapidly. I usually wait until sometime in October to put the heat on, but if the temperature inside my house goes much under 58F, it's going on. I don't care what the calendar says.
Tuesday is going to be the coolest day of the early fall/late summer season with highs in the lower 60s for many and even 50s in the mountains. This cool air is right out of northern Canada and while refreshing, is also a bit early.
The good news is it will turn mild for the second part of the week with highs getting back into the 70s and the nights not so chilly. There is no chance for frost after Wednesday morning. Skies will be crystal clear for the end of the week and into the start of the weekend. Sometime Saturday or Sunday another weather system will bring a chance of showers, but until then it's looking just amazing.
This is a great time of year to plant trees and shrubs in the garden. Recently, I took a trip to a nursery in Massachusetts to learn more about conifers or evergreen trees and shrubs as they are commonly called. Check out some of the more unique plants you can put in your garden. As always, check to be sure a plant is hardy for your area before purchasing it.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.