Saturday, March 8, 2014
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.
Maine missed a small storm today which brought a few inches of snow across much of southern New England. For snow lovers, you are going to get your wish for more snow and perhaps that wish will be granted twice over the next 7 days.
Tuesday brings a nice quiet day to the area with mainly sunny skies and seasonable temperatures just above freezing. I expect some more melting to continue, especially in those areas that face south. As the sun continues to increase in strength, any sunny days will bring some melting.
The forecast not only includes snow, but generally cold temperatures as well. I have to say although most meteorologists love a big snow storm. I would like nothing better than to be completely wrong with this forecast. I’ll gladly suffer the wrath of social media if the atmosphere would throw us a curve ball. Alas, it’s not going to happen, more snow and cold is almost a sure bet Wednesday morning and a strong possibility again late in the weekend.
February begins this weekend and it’s going to start on a damp, but mild note. February is a short month and still a very wintry month here in Maine. The one part of the month that begins to remind us spring will come is the light.
I am forever fascinated by the light. I look at charts on when the sun is going to come up nearly every day. I have an app on my phone that automatically tells me the position of the sun at any given moment on the planet. At night, it tells me how many degrees below the horizon the sun has gone. I find it really interesting to think about how connected the Earth and Sun are and how it drives life on the planet. Around July 4th, I get bummed out we have already lost several minutes of light. (I know, it's a bit obsessive)
I love to tweet about astronomical, horticultural and meteorological observations. You can find me on Twitter @growingwisdom
When we were an agrarian society everyone would have noticed the light much more. You would be more aware from late December until now the sun is nearly 7 degrees higher in the sky at noon. You might even have figured out the sun moves up and down each day faster in summer than it does in winter. This is one of the reasons for the longer winter sunsets.
Cold weather greeted Mainers again today as another very wintry week is underway for much of the eastern 2/3rds of the United States. The arctic air has pushed its way south through the heart of America and down the Gulf Coast. There are winter storm warnings from Louisiana to North Carolina and a major snowstorm is looking increasingly likely for areas that can go years without seeing a flake. This same storm will clip southern New England with a few inches of snow across Cape Cod and the Islands late tonight and early Wednesday, but miss Maine entirely. The cold begins to moderate towards the weekend. I'll be updating the forecast for the weekend and beyond on Twitter @growingwisdom. Please follow me there.
A cold winter
We don’t know yet the final numbers on the winter of 2013-2014, but suffice to say it will go into the record books as a cold and snowy one for much of the nation.
Another overall cold week is on the way for New England with multiple shots of artic air keeping the region frozen solid.
This has been a winter where folks are talking about the temperature. From Bismarck to Bangor, Chicago to Calais and everywhere in-between the cold weather is making headlines. One of the side effects of the cold is the financial cost this is having on folks. With temperatures so cold for so long, the cost of keeping warm is becoming a financial line item larger than many of us expected. As a function of heating degree days (HDD), we have needed about 14% more energy to keep warm this season as compared to the previous one. Of course that increase doesn’t take into account higher base price of electricity, oil or gas this year, you need to add those numbers in the equation as well to see just how much your budget has been impacted.
Heating degree days are found by taking the average temperature and subtracting it from 65F. For example, in Boston yesterday the average daily temperature was 24. If you subtract that number from 65 you get 41 which are the number of HDD for Saturday. (Interestingly that number was slightly fewer than average with the mild afternoon)
It’s a cold morning across the region with temperatures in the single numbers below zero and a wind chill warning for the mountains. Along the coast, wind chills will be lowest before 10AM. You can expect it to feel below zero all day as actual temperatures reach the mid-teens in Portland, but struggle into positive territory on the ski lifts.
The cold continues overnight with similar temperatures as the night just past and a slight breeze. At cold levels like this, only a 5 or 10 mile per hour breeze can bring temperatures well below zero quickly. I expect lows to fall below zero statewide with the exception being the towns along the Coast of York County which bottom out at 1 or 2 degrees above zero Friday morning.