Sunday, April 20, 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.
My little pond I made several years ago in the back yard had a thin coat of ice this morning, an indication of course of below freezing temperatures. While the weather has made the turn from winter to spring, mornings with temperatures I the 20s and lower 30s will still be commonplace for several more weeks.
The cold nights are allowing the snow in the ski areas to melt slowly this year. Back in 2012, I remember skiing in March at 80F. Water was running down the trails in river-like fashion and I had to stay clear of the bare spots.
On Thursday, I went to Sugarloaf to get in a day of skiing. While all the storms were great news for the mountains this year, I found myself doing more forecasting of the snow than skiing on it. Thursday was my one day to hit the slopes.
While there are still some big snow banks left around much of southern Maine, the area is starting to have a look more like spring. This is the month where the landscape undergoes a large shift from looking like winter to greening up.
Some of the first signs of spring are likely in your garden. Bulbs have begun peeking through the ground. Tulips and daffodils are anywhere from an inch or two to several inches tall and will quickly gain height from this point forward.
April is a month where the temperature rises significantly. During the first week of April temperatures often remain in the 40s. By the time we get to the end of the month seeing afternoon highs in the 50s and even 60s is quite common. (graphs are for Portland)
April, it’s finally here! While April can be cold, stormy, and generally a frustrating month here in southern Maine, it’s not going to be as cold as March and that I can say with 100% confidence.
If you thought March was cold you are correct. The preliminary March data from the National Weather Service shows the past 31 days marked the coldest March Portland has seen since 1967, nearly a half century ago.
The cold actually kept snowfall at bay and Maine largest city only saw 3.3 inches of snow the entire month. While the ski areas saw feet of snow, much of the precipitation this month either fell as rain or not at all.
Before our rainstorm of the past few days’ precipitation in Portland was actually below normal. The rain brought nearly 2 inches of rain to the area the past three days or nearly half of what fell the entire month.
Our weekend nor’easter is now a double barreled low with part of the storm still across the mid-Atlantic region. This storm will be moving very slowly over the next 24 hours and therefore no clearing will take place until Tuesday.
The storm brought very heavy rain and in most cases has been the most amount of rain we have seen since early June 2013, nearly 10 months ago. That was the month Portland saw over 7 inches of rain! Remember, we had a bit of a drought much of last summer and fall and although we had above normal snowfall this winter, overall we are on the drier, not wetter side of average.
The word nor’easter typically conjures up thoughts of a snowstorm. However, the reality is the term is used for any storm moving up the east coast and bringing a wind from the northeast with precipitation.Meteorologists, when speaking about the wind, name the wind by the direction it comes from, not the direction it’s going. The convention is completely opposite of the way we name highway direction. If you are on the Mass Pike heading from Boston to Worcester, you are going west, but if you were the wind, we would name you an east wind because you’re coming <em>from</em> the east. During a nor’easter, the wind comes from the northeast and mariners in particular, realized that wind direction often brought high seas and dangerous conditions.
We do have a nor’easter on the way for the weekend and it’s a slow moving one too. This means a prolonged period of rain once it begins accompanied by chilly air coming off the cold Atlantic.
Before we get to our weekend storm, we do have a mild but breezy/blustery sort of day today. A southwest wind (coming from the warm part of the country) will help boost temperatures above normal for a change. Highs this afternoon will reach the 50s.
Later this evening, a cold front will move through and this brings with it a chance of a few showers. I am not expecting much in the way of rainfall and any shower activity should hold off until late this afternoon and evening.