Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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.
More rain is on the way. There are flood watches up from Virginia to Maine this morning for all the heavy rain on the way. I am expecting a general 1 to 2 inch rainstorm beginning late today and continuing overnight. When you combine this additional rainfall with the heavy rain from Friday we start to run the risk of more urban and street flooding. Also, rivers and streams are running rather high so there can be some flooding of the smaller rivers and streams.
The rain will begin over York and Cumberland Counties around the evening commute home and spread northward from there. A few showers my pop up before then, but the heavy rain is going to hold off until after dark.
A storm system is going to cross the region from the west overnight. As this area moves east, warmer air will attempt to move north. However, because of the position of the jet stream the warm air won’t make it into most of southern New England. What the air will do is act as a mechanism to bring copious amounts of rain northward. Highs today will reach upper 60s to around 70F and then fall back a bit as clouds thicken later this afternoon and the rain arrives.
Our heavy overnight and early morning rain is now departing the area and the sun will make an appearance from southwest towards the northeast later today. If you look at the radar image from this morning below, you can see the twist in the circulation of the storm just east of Portland.
Rainfall hasn’t been that high with most spots less than 2 inches. Some impressive rainfall amounts have fallen from the storm to our south with over 5 inches of rain around West Bridgewater in Massachusetts. As expected, the rainfall totals are quite different from spot to spot much as a winter snowfall map would show.
Maine remained on the cool side of the storm, but as the storm passed near Block Island we clearly saw the two sides any low pressure area has in the northern hemisphere. To the right of the center is the warm and windy side, while to the left it’s cooler and wetter. Check out the reports from 6AM in southern New England this morning. Notice the winds are from the south in places like Falmouth, MA while they are northerly in Boston. That shows how the winds circulate around these storms.
Heavy rain continue to spread north overnight. Already flood warnings are in effect for almost all of southern New England. Here in Maine we have flood watches for mostly street and small stream flooding. This map shows areas in green that currently have a flood watch. I don’t expect widespread river flooding from this system. By tomorrow afternoon the rain will be over and skies will partially clear. We should see anywhere from 2-3 inches of rain with some isolated 4 inch amounts possible away from the coast. The image below is radar loop that shows the edge of the steadiest rain just entering southern Maine. The rain is steadies and heaviest from Portland south along the coast, but will be increasing in intensity statewide this evening.
Normal rainfall for June is just over 3 inches so we are looking at about a month’s worth of rain in twenty-four hours. While this is certainly a healthy amount of water, it’s not going to cause widespread flooding.
The storm is moving quite quickly so we won’t see a repeat of October 1996 when a week of heavy rain cause widespread flooding and shut down the Maine Turnpike or June 1998 when nearly a foot of rain fell parts of southern Maine. Nonetheless, there will be street and urban flooding and if you have a basement prone to flooding during heavy rain you should check your sump pumps and other forms of drainage. If you are on the highways this evening and overnight, the rain may come down hard enough at times to make driving very difficult.
We do have rain on the way, but much of the weekend is going to be dry and rain free. I would not cancel outdoor plans for the weekend especially those from Saturday at noon onward. If you have an outdoor event or game Saturday morning, that might be a problem. Let’s get right to the overview and then I will give you the specifics and try to break down both days as best as possible.
I'll be updating the weekend forecast throughout the day on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
There are two areas of rain that are going to impact Maine. The first area is over the Ohio Valley this morning and will move northeast during the day. I expect the entire day to be dry. This area will move across the region overnight and Friday morning. I am not expecting the rain to be heavy or amount to more than a quarter to half inch at most. The greatest amounts of rain will be over the foothills and interior southern Maine, but even the coast will have some wet weather.
Ah June, the month when summer officially begins. We have already had a heat wave in a few places and certainly hot weather all around. Now the pattern looks like it is going to go into a cooler and damper mode.
I know when I write something like that the first thing you might think is that it is going to rain the rest of the month. While there certainly have been June’s where the weather doesn’t cooperate, this doesn’t appear to be a washout of a month. That said, the pattern is definitely going to be undergoing a change.
June is also the start of hurricane season. Hurricanes develop in the early part of the season in different spots than they typically do during say September. This time of the year, and again in October and November, the Gulf of Mexico is often a spot for tropical activity.
Today we are watching an area of disturbed weather which could become our first named storm. Andrea starts the list this year and then goes through Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, and Wendy.