Let’s start the blog with a foliage report as the leaves are nearing peak this weekend across a large swath of the state. The good news is that the weather should cooperate with the most sunshine Friday and Saturday and more clouds and a risk for showers Sunday. The map below shows the latest status of the foliage right now in Maine.
The pattern of sunny perfect weather is now over with small changes in the forecast each day into early next week. The 5 day forecast may end with some heavy rain from the remnants of tropical storm Karen.
The storm is currently centered in the Gulf of Mexico and moving north towards the US mainland. There is little doubt there will be impact to the Louisiana, Mississippi coasts this weekend. The good news is Karen is not expected to become a major hurricane.
The intensity of tropical systems is highly dependent on the temperature of the ocean and the winds at upper levels of the atmosphere. As long as water temperatures are in the mid-80s the system has the potential of getting stronger. Temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are still warm enough to support some strengthening of Karen, but water temperatures aren’t the only variable to consider.
Unlike winter storms which feed on a strong jet stream, hurricanes are blow apart by them. Over the next few days, some wind shear (strong winds) will blow in the vicinity of the storm and suppress any major strengthening.
I'll be updating the details of the forecast on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center has the storm briefly becoming a hurricane before reaching landfall. Once reaching land all hurricanes lose their tropical characteristics rather quickly. Without the heat and energy of the ocean, they just become big rain storms.
Next week, after Karen moves inland she will travel northward along the Appalachians and then close to or over near New England. The ultimate exact track of the storm will determine how much rain we receive.
Let’s back up to the weather Friday and for the weekend. Most of the weekend will be dry, with the risk of showers really not increasing much until Sunday. Things are very dry, so any rain is welcome. If you stop and think about the last significant rain, it was back in mid-September. I had my irrigation shut off today, but I am sure I will have to water by hand until we see some significant rain.
I know this is a huge weekend for outdoor activities from high school football, to the fall fairs to soccer games to family outings in local orchards. If you are planning your weekend, just be aware Sunday could turn wet, more on the rain possibility over the weekend.
Temperatures which have been in the 70s the past couple of days will be back there tomorrow and then a bit cooler for the rest of the weekend. I don’t see any 70 degree weather until perhaps later next week.
When I think back to June and all the rain and chilly weather and then July’s heat and humidity, the past 8 weeks has been nothing short of spectacular. When the leaves were coming down this afternoon and the lawn was covered by them, it was hard to get my mind around the fact it’s October.
This time of year highs are most often in the 60s, not 70s and certainly not the 80s, so this has been quite a summer-like bonus period of weather. I have heard from some of you asking when the cooler weather will return. My thinking is there will be enough cool weather ahead, so this can continue as long as it can. The very long range maps do bring some colder air here later this month, but cooler air in late October really isn’t much of a leap now is it?
Deer are an issue for gardeners any time of the year, but as we approach winter, they can become a particular problem. If you are a hunter, I know how you will say we should take care of the deer, but short of that, there are ways to keep them out of your yard. Check out this week's gardening video below.