The Maine Forecast – Press Herald Sun, 22 Oct 2017 22:18:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Week turning into a stunner, with virtually no chance of rain Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:05:10 +0000 As you head outside this morning be prepared for a chilly start to the day with the majority of Maine experiencing temperatures in the 30s and even some 20s!  If you did escape without a killing frost you won’t have to worry about another one for over a week, and that means more growth for fall crops and colorful fall flowers.

It’s below freezing in some spots Tuesday morning. Air Sports Net

It’s been a dry month thus far after a dry end to September, but some of this isn’t all that surprising. The number of days considered sunny or partly sunny in southern Maine has been very high in October.  Northern areas of the state have not been as sunny.  It’s also been a warm month.  You can see below just how warm.  Remember, these records include the non-airport ones as well.

October 2017 in Portland is running very warm. Twitter-Charlie Lopresti

Check out the chart below.  You’ll notice there are more months of the year with more sunshine, but remember, the days are much shorter now, so hours of potential sunshine this month are fewer than six other months of the year in the first place.  However, of October’s 31 days, more of them will typically be considered sunny or partly sunny than any other month.  Only August has more such days and eight other months are less sunny than a typical October.   In years when we have a dry October like this one, it stands to reason it will feature even more clear days than a typical one.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, October is a very sunny month in southern Maine. Dave Epstein

Our weather will be controlled by high pressure for the next week, keeping sunshine and few if any clouds in the forecast.  Temperatures will be cool today and then warm significantly for the rest of the week and the weekend.  This is amazing weather to be enjoyed when possible.  Next month is one of the cloudiest months of the year and often typically brings early snow and cold.   Try to take lunch outside or a long walk this week at least once; these days are numbered.

There is virtually no chance of rain through the weekend. NOAA

There are signs of a pattern change in about week.  At that time a trough of low pressure will develop into the eastern United States and spawn a storm that will move north.  If this were January, I’d likely be forecasting a potential snow or rain storm, but it’s too early for such nonsense, so we’re likely to just experience much-needed rain.  Until then, enjoy all the sunshine, November is coming.

A storm may bring significant rain to New England early next week. Tropical Tidbits.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.


]]> 0, 17 Oct 2017 09:36:11 +0000
Frost likely tonight, but a warmer rest of week Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:38:20 +0000 I can’t predict whether we will have a big snow storm this year or how many major cold outbreak, but I can guarantee all of us will eventually get a frost and then a freeze this fall.

Tonight is likely the night many of us will see the first significant frost of the season although last week the growing season did end for some areas which is why there isn’t an advisory posted tonight. However, if you have tender vegetation outside I recommend covering it overnight.  This will be the last chance of frost for a while.

The reason for the sudden change in air mass is a cold front pushing off the coast today. Behind this front we have much colder and drier air moving into the region. Colder air moving in this afternoon on a strong wind will actually drop temperatures today.

I took a snapshot of the radar from Gray this morning which clearly shows the cold front moving through with a line of light showers.

A cold front pushes off the coast with a line of showers Monday morning. NOAA-Gray

Temperatures won’t go up during the day very much if at all. Colder air sweeps in from the north and although skies will partially clear and there will be sunshine, temperatures will fall this afternoon. Notice the chillier air arriving below.

Colder air arrives on a northwest flow of air today. WeatherBell

When you get up Tuesday it will feel briefly like winter, but temperatures in the afternoon will rise back near 60.

The rest of the week and into the weekend, the weather looks stunning. If we had seen more significant rainfall over the past month I would be more excited for the nice weather and while I am still looking forward to it, we do need rainfall quite badly in many areas. The drought has not lessened this fall and one could argue it’s even worse. If you planted new trees and shrubs this spring, be sure you are watering them at least one a week heavily until the ground freezes or we see significant rainfall.

Highs later this week will once again reach near 70 and the upcoming weekend is looking rather amazing with sunshine and warm temperatures along with low levels of humidity. The foliage is past peak in many areas, but this weekend will still bring great weather for viewing remaining foliage which is still very colorful especially closer to the coast and over southern Maine.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.



]]> 0, 16 Oct 2017 14:15:38 +0000
Another mild weekend ahead to enjoy the foliage Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:57:38 +0000 The bottom line for the weekend: More unseasonably warm air, a chance of a shower, but some sun and humidity as well.

On Friday, we find crisp autumn air in place

High pressure is in control of our weather today with bright sunshine and pleasantly cool temperatures.  Highs will range from the upper 50s at the coast to the mid-60s inland.   Winds will be light and with the brilliant October sunshine it will feel quite comfortable.  Look for one of those quintessential October afternoons, a great chance to take some foliage pictures as well.

Saturday will be great for outdoor activities.

Saturday will be warmer than Friday.  Highs reach the lower 70s and there will be some increase in humidity.  I can’t rule out a shower after the noontime hour, mainly south.  If you do get a shower then it would be light and not widespread.  Foliage is peaking in many parts of New England so take advantage of it.   Winds will be light, so not a lot of leaves will come down.

Temperatures will approach 70 on Saturday. NOAA-Gray

Sunday will be very muggy and warm.

Just like last weekend Sunday, will be warm and muggy.  There will be more clouds than Saturday and also some windy conditions at times.  This is the first weekend since last winter with the sun setting before 6 p.m.  Sunrise also will be moving to after 7 a.m hour next week and remain will there until we set the clock back in November.  A cold front passes Sunday night with a renewed push of chilly air for the start of next week.

Sunday is a very warm day for mid-October. NOAA-Gray

Cooler Weather Arrives Monday

The cold front which moves through Sunday night passes offshore Monday and allows cooler and drier air to filter in for much of next week.  Highs will reach near 60 which is in the seasonable range on Monday.  You can also expect low levels of humidity at this time, that is more what we expect this time of year.  There is a warming trend later next week with some additional 70 degree or better weather possible again next weekend.


Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0 ME - OCTOBER 12: A car drives along Route 137 in Knox amid colorful foliage and a pastoral farm scene on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)Fri, 13 Oct 2017 09:57:38 +0000
Strangely summery weather persists for another day Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:55:21 +0000 Meteorological autumn arrived on Sept. 1, marking the 90 days between the warmest and the coldest seasons of the year.  Typically we would find mild days and crisp cool nights as the dominating weather during this period, but this year is continuing a trend of milder-than-average falls.

A cold front passed off the coast overnight and now less humid air is arriving from the west.  It’s still muggy this morning, but the 70-degree oppressive humidity is being shunted out to sea.

Temperatures today will reach the 70s and many places in the upper 70s.  This will be the case right to the coastline on a westerly flow of air.   These temperatures are 10-18 degrees above average and more typical for early to mid-June.

Highs Tuesday will be more typical for summer, not autumn. Dave Epstein

Finally tonight we’ll have a cool night that will be pleasant for sleeping.  With low dew points and mainly clear skies many areas should fall into the  50s and even some 40s.

A weak weather system will increase cloud cover Wednesday.  It will be a day averaging partly sunny, but most of the sunny is in the first half of the day and the partly comes later in the afternoon. While we did receive some rain Sunday and Monday we need a lot more. Yet a sprinkle Wednesday night is about the most we can expect.

It will be much cooler Wednesday across Maine and New Hampshire. Dave Epstein

The pattern continues to be not only warm, but dry and after the drought of 2016, it would be very unhealthy for trees and shrubs to enter winter this dry.  We shall see.

While temperatures will be more seasonable the rest of the work week, I do see more warm and perhaps even muggy air coming back this weekend.  The upper level flow in the atmosphere continues to keep a ridge here in the East and a trough out West.   That translates into much warmer air here and much colder air there.  There can be cool days, but overall the pattern is exceedingly warm.

A ridge is the predominant weather feature in the east keeping warm air in the picture.

A ridge is the predominant weather feature in the East keeping warm air in the picture. Tropical Tidbits

As long as this pattern keeps going, the weather won’t feel very cool for any extended period of time and frosts and freezes will be limited.  Falls are getting warmer in New England, but this year is particularly out of the norm.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.


]]> 0, 10 Oct 2017 07:07:32 +0000
If you wait for peak foliage, you might miss out Sat, 07 Oct 2017 11:49:49 +0000 Every year around this time questions about the foliage abound. Everyone wants to know if the foliage is going to be any good and when it will peak.

The term “peak” just means that all the leaves have changed color, but if you wait for peak you’ll often miss some of the more vibrant early-changing leaves, so I find foliage viewing best when the amount of leaves having turned is between 50 percent and 80 percent.

Fall colors along the Maine Turnpike south of Portland on Friday. Dave Epstein

While the leaves will change each autumn, individual falls are different in terms of how the colors will appear.

It’s a delicate balance between having enough moisture during the summer months to keep the leaves healthy and not too much heat or too much cold as we head through the fall.

A hard freeze is horrible for the foliage as it freezes the leaves. Windy conditions can also strip the leaves much earlier than they would otherwise naturally fall to the ground.

This year the short-term problem with the foliage is the recent warmth. From Portland to Burlington, Vermont, and down to the Boston area this is been the warmest three-week period in fall ever recorded. Since records go back to about 1872 we can assume that all this warm weather is having an effect on the foliage.

This comes on the heels of one of the warmest Septembers on record. The main trigger for changing leaves is the decreasing light, but cool nights and mild days are ideal for bringing the color on slowly and most vibrantly.

When temperatures are as warm as recent weeks it does slow down the rate of change and can mute the colors a little bit, at least in the beginning of the season. In the long run, I still expect this to be a great year for foliage viewing.

The Northeast experienced a very warm September. Climatic Data Center

Sometimes I think we over-analyze the changing leaves. The fact is, you’re going to find pockets of great color anytime between late September and late October somewhere across New England.

 Certain years are notably better than others, but the leaves always change color. The worst years are actually very cool, wet years where fungus can really affect the quality of the leaves.

The best color is over western Maine this weekend. Foliage Network

Although the warm weather has slowed things down a little bit, you will be treated to some very vibrant colors over the next few weeks. The one thing you probably won’t be able to do is wear those big sweaters or heavy sweatshirts while looking at the foliage, because the pattern continues to be a warm one.

Over the past month, nearly every weekend we’ve had temperatures nearly 1o to 15 degrees above average at some point. This will continue through Columbus Day weekend and even the weekend after.

The overall pattern continues very warm for much of the next two weeks. NOAA

The changing colors of the hardwood forest is one of Mother Nature’s finest displays and we are fortunate to be able to witness it each year no matter what the weather.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 07 Oct 2017 18:46:14 +0000
Weekend looking nice, and then we’ll get some much-needed rain Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:59:17 +0000 This weekend is looking like it has something for everyone. There will be sunshine, warm weather and some much needed rain arriving Columbus Day.  It’s a big tourist weekend with thousands of people arriving in the state, mostly from the south, coming to enjoy everything from the beach to the mountains.  Good weather is critical for most people’s plans and this year we will have two out of the three reasonably good days.

There may be a brief shower or two with a frontal passage Friday.  Eighty percent of us won’t see a thing and for those who do, it won’t last long.  On Saturday, the front will turn around and start moving north through southern New England and eventually to Maine. As it moves north, more humid air will return and will be present for several days.  The humidity will be high enough for some tropical downpours late in the weekend.

We need rainfall.  Last week, the drier-than-average area doubled to nearly 50 percent of the Northeast.  Maine has a full-on drought along much of the coast and eastern areas.


Saturday is my pick for the weekend with the least chance – nearly zero – of any showers.  There will be mixed sunshine and clouds and warm temperatures in the low to mid-70s.  Sunday brings a chance of an afternoon shower or thunderstorm, but still with some sunshine breaking through the clouds.  Temperatures will average 10 degrees above normal, reaching well into the 70s. A few 80-degree readings over interior southern Maine are possible.


You can see on the loop below how a small line of showers moves in from the west on Sunday.  This is followed by an area of showers or even steady rain Monday from the south.  That will be moisture from Nate, but Nate will not be anything more than some rain by then.  The loop takes us through 8 a.m. Monday.  Notice the rain isn’t forecast to arrive by then, but I do think it will be raining in southern Maine by the afternoon, at least showers.  Plan accordingly if traveling south this weekend out of the state.

A few showers may cross the region Sunday with another area of moisture moving up from the south Monday. Tropical Tidbits


Warm weather during the second half of September and so far this month has slowed the progress of fall color.  Peak foliage rarely coincides with Columbus Day weekend around Portland and along the coast, but in northern Maine the peak is 5-8 days later than some years.  There is color, but temper your expectations.  Once we get into the middle of October the colors should be better along the coast.  The heat this year may end up muting the colors.

Northern New England won’t be in peak color for another week or so. Foliage Network

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom


]]> 0, 06 Oct 2017 08:50:54 +0000
Enjoy the good weather because the weekend will be different Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:24:27 +0000 The slide into Autumn is never a straight line. The path towards cold and snowy weather often taking a circuitous route.  There can be sharp rises and steep falls in temperature but the long-term trend is, of course, always downward. September finished on a warm note but then there was a dramatic cool down. The past few mornings have been quite chilly reminding us that frost and freezes are not too far away. You may think that fall is actually here and our summer weather has finally ended, but that is not actually the case. The beautiful afternoons we been experiencing in the past few days will continue for two more days. As high pressure, which has been creating all the nice weather moves south of the region, the return flow of air means some of us could see an 80 degree reading this afternoon. 

Warm weather continues Thursday.

Warm weather continues Thursday. Dave Epstein

Eventually this fantastic weather will come to an end.  Eventually it will turn cold.  Eventually it will snow.  We all know in the back of our minds that all this amazing sunshine and pleasantly warm air can’t stick around for another month. But it’s great while it lasts.

Sunshine is nice, but rain is also nice and we do need some.  Most areas finished September on a dry note and this has continued into the beginning of October.  The coast remains in a full drought, with dry conditions across over 40% of the state, much of that in the more populated areas. I do see some rain in the forecast which, like our nice weather of late, will stick around for a while once it arrives later this week or over the weekend. High pressure, the generally good weather system, remains in control through Thursday.  At this point a cold front will pass  through with the slight chance of a shower.   Problems arise this weekend because the front will remain close enough to the area for the boundary of air masses it represents to fight with each other and produce a lot of clouds and some risk of showers.  A low pressure system may cross New England with some much needed rain sometime Sunday or Monday.  I don’t want to start predicting how much rain just yet, but it could be significant and beneficial.

In addition to possible rain, the humid air to the south of the front will also return.  I expect it to start feeling a bit stickier on Saturday and downright humid later Sunday.  This moisture in the air will contribute to the chance of showers.  The unsettled weather will continue through the holiday weekend and into early next week.  Another front will pass through the region in about a week and will likely usher in the coolest air of the young fall.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 04 Oct 2017 11:21:34 +0000
Beach weather in October? It’s possible this week. Mon, 02 Oct 2017 12:41:50 +0000 October weather can be quite dramatic.  We’ve seen snow early in the month, perfect storms to conclude it — and wind, rain and cold throughout. October can also bring amazing weather. Cool, clear nights can lead to bright sunny days. Temperatures quickly warm because while the sun’s strength on this part of Earth is weakening, it’s still comparatively strong.

The coldest of Octobers in years past have felt and sometimes looked like early winter, but the warmest of Octobers in the record books keeping the growing season alive and well through the entire month.

There are large differences between the coldest and warmest Octobers of year’s past. NOAA-Gray

If you’re a skier, perhaps your mind has already starting thinking about waxing your boards. Indeed, Sunday River already started their snow guns in their annual ritual of testing the equipment.

Last week the snow was flying at Sunday River, with a lot of help from technology. @SundayRiver

But most of you probably aren’t thinking about snow.  Maybe you are still holding onto summer, and want to go to the beach one more time.  The good news is the forecast is trending more like summer than winter, at least for now.

This week, high pressure is going to bring many days of sunshine, including several where you could head to the beach. While it won’t be as warm as the final week of September, we are going to enjoy temperatures far above the long-term averages.

Temperatures could get near 80 well inland Wednesday with mid-70s at the coast.

Temperatures could get near 80 well inland Wednesday with mid-70s at the coast. NOAA-Gray

This type of weather is good for the turning foliage. The best type of weather to bring on the color is dry and cool, not freezing at night and mild during the day. This should continue to increase to colors across the landscape. Many areas north and west of Boston will see enough color that you’ll start to notice it more this weekend.  As you get into New Hampshire, Vermont or Maine the color is more dramatic and worth the trip.

High pressure keeps the chance of showers virtually zero for the first 4 days of the work week. Tropical Tidbits

The upcoming weekend weather is questionable. The models are not clear how impulses of low pressure will behave along a front which passes Friday. The most likely scenario is at least one of the three weekend days will have a chance of showers. I am focusing on Sunday at this early stage, but this could flipso don’t make changes to weekend plans yet.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.



]]> 0, 02 Oct 2017 10:09:57 +0000
A few showers Saturday, but we need much more rainfall Fri, 29 Sep 2017 11:11:02 +0000 When I was writing the daily forecast Thursday it was about 25 degrees warmer than this morning and a lot more humid.  As you step outside today, heading to work, school or walking the dog, you’ll quickly notice fall is here.

The air mass in place is cool and dry and feels more typical of the final days of September.  As we look back at most of the month in the rearview mirror, it’s been very warm and very much on the dry side, but this weekend will be cool with some rainfall.

Average rainfall is just around three-quarters of an inch each week.   If we don’t receive that amount then it starts to become dry rather quickly.  A week with a lot of rain can keep things moist for a week that follows with no rain, but beyond that the landscape quickly dries.

The drier-than-average weather is most notable along the coastline where the drought monitor is picking this up.  In Maine, much of the area from Portland north along the coast is still in drought conditions.  The heat this week exacerbated all of this.

Drought continues along much of the Maine coast.

On Saturday it will rain at least a bit, and although the ground may become wet, it won’t be nearly enough.  An inch or more of rain would be ideal; we’ll be fortunate to see a 10th of that in many places.

The map below shows how much rainfall is expected Saturday.  This is based on all the models and is an average.  The exact amounts are rarely correct, but the pattern of very little overall rain likely is.  Notice the rain barely makes it to Portland.

Low pressure will be too weak and too far south to alleviate our drought with rainfall. Dave Epstein

Temperatures on Saturday with the clouds and the raw breeze off the water will be very chilly.  Highs won’t reach the 60-degree mark for one of the coolest days in a long time.

The reason for the showers is a low-pressure system to our west that will track just south of the region.  The low is starved for moisture, thus the prediction of meager total rainfall.

As the low passes, clearing will take place and sets up a fantastic Sunday.  This will be a typical fall day with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s.  If you want to see some early foliage, head to the higher elevations for a good show.

Next week there’s going to be a another warmup – not as warm or humid as this week by any measure, but it will turn unseasonably mild with highs well into the 70s and a few 80-degree readings are likely.  It will feel like fall this weekend, but summer-like conditions haven’t given up just yet.

Temperatures average below normal this weekend, but above next week. WeatherBell

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.____


]]> 0, 29 Sep 2017 07:21:21 +0000
Another beach day in late September, turning cooler Thursday Wed, 27 Sep 2017 12:15:21 +0000 There’s a cold front slicing through the middle of the country this morning and behind, the end of our summer weather.  You can see the line of clouds, which has been color enhanced, moving east on the morning satellite.

A cold front is in the center of the nation with Maria off the southeast coast Wednesday morning. NOAA

The past several days have been pretty amazing for the final week of September.  Temperatures yesterday again reached high into the 80s, far above average.  Along the coast, sea breezes have kept it much less hot, but even there it’s been summer-like this week.  Today will be quite warm again with lots of 80s an even a few 90-degree readings possible in the foothills away from the effects of the ocean.  It will be cooler at the coast, but not cool.  This is a typical summer day, it’s just occurring at the end of September.

This morning, some areas are experiencing thick fog and low clouds.  As was the case Tuesday these will dissipate, the sun will take over and temperatures will respond.

In addition to the warm weather we also have summertime humidity levels.  If you are working outside today, remember to stay hydrated. This isn’t dangerous heat by any means, but it’s quite anomalous.

There is a chance of a shower or thunderstorm later today in the tropical air mass.  The risk is quite low, but it’s not zero.  The highest chance of storms will be in the mountains where the additional lift from the hills will help force the air up and might initiate precipitation.

There is a small risk of thunderstorms today. NOAA-Gray

The cold front to our west will work east overnight and pass off the coast Thursday.  Since the front will come through early in the morning, it will take a few hours for the drier air to arrive.  The chart below shows when the lower dew points are expected. Notice the rapid fall tomorrow morning.  This means although it will be muggy early, it will feel much more comfortable by lunchtime and Friday morning will finally actually feel like late September.

The graph shows how temperature and humidity as well as wind and rain will manifest over the coming 2 days. Dave Epstein

Our weekend weather looks seasonably mild and dry.  I don’t see any signficant rainfall in sight and if you have started a lawn this fall be sure to actively keep it watered as Mother Nature won’t be helping you anytime soon.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.



]]> 0, 27 Sep 2017 08:24:13 +0000
Still more record heat possible today, but a cooldown is coming Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:13:28 +0000 I confess.  I turned on the air conditioning again yesterday.  I was hoping I was done for the year, but indeed it was just too warm in the house and too humid to really be comfortable.  It’s fortunate to have these modern conveniences, but one wouldn’t expect such a long stretch of humidity and warmth this time of year.

Augusta reached a whopping 87 degrees Sunday, breaking their old record of 85.   Concord, New Hampshire, hit a sizzling 91 for a new daily record as well.  As I write this Monday morning, many areas aren’t much below their normal highs and the sun hasn’t come up yet.

More records could fall today, the coast will be the coolest, but even there it will be a great September beach day.  Portland’s record high for September 25th is 88, set back in 1970.  But that kind of late heat is virtually meaningless to predict the winter, in case you were wondering. That winter (1970-71) was the snowiest on record in the city.

Temperatures this afternoon will be warmest farthest away from the coast and in the lower elevations. WeatherOK.Inc

A few spots around the Augusta to Bangor region might nudge 90 this afternoon, this will be the warmest day of this stretch and likely the warmest we’ll experience until next spring and summer.   As we get into October, the lower sun angle makes it quite difficult to achieve high temperatures like these.


High-pressure weather systems usually bring dry air.  In this week’s case the air is also warm.  This high is deflecting any tropical weather away from the East Coast and a big part of the reason Maria isn’t a big concern.

High pressure is preventing tropical systems from reaching the East Coast. NWS-Albany

Seas may become rough later this week as hurricane Maria passes well east and south of New England.  Unlike Jose, this storm will move away faster and not bring a prolonged period of rough surf or beach erosion, it’s just too far away.


When does this unusual pattern break?  On Wednesday evening a cold front will get close enough to introduce showers in the forecast.  This will be the beginning of the end of this warm and muggy weather.  This won’t be a widespread rain event, although that’s something I’d like to see after the late-season heat. Plants don’t want to go into fall with dry ground.  As the showers end, humidity will fall Thursday and then it’s time to enjoy fall temperatures and crisp air with low dewpoints.

Upcoming weekend highs will be in the 60s and lows in the 40s – more what we’d expect for what will be October 1st this Sunday.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.


]]> 0, 25 Sep 2017 14:57:12 +0000
Autumnal equinox – a.k.a. fall – arrives today, but weekend will be beachy Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:34:28 +0000 Seasons happen.

In spite of all the other unpredictable things in life, including bizarre weather, the seasons arrive every three months on a predictable schedule.

Today we welcome fall or autumn.  This is the period of the year when we will lose even more daylight and by the time we reach the final day of this season, the noontime sun will be at its lowest point and there will be just under 9 hours of daylight between the morning sunrise and the afternoon sunset.

December 20th will mark the final day of fall with winter to follow.  The term equinox is derived from the idea of equal day and night.  The reality is everywhere on the planet has nearly equal day and night today, but our 12-hour day won’t actually occur until Monday.

The rate of light loss will begin to slow after the equinox.


Temperatures will also continue to tumble in this season.  Even though daylight reaches a minimum during autumn, our temperatures won’t really bottom out until we’ve had about a month of winter.  We’ve actually been cooling for nearly two months (on average).  Already, normal highs are in the 60s.

Average temperatures take a tumble in autumn. Dave Epstein

Fall is quite dramatic here in the Northeast.  In Maine, we can have warm temperatures even reaching the 80s,  as we will next week, but it can also snow.  Snow can accumulate as early as the first half of October, but more likely we won’t see our first flakes until late in that month or November. In some years snow doesn’t arrive until December, but it’s highly unlikely we won’t see some in the autumn season.


The decreasing light, more than the cooler air, causes plants to start shutting down in preparation for winter. We can already notice foliage changing and this will continue to spread south and east in the coming weeks.

Peak foliage is a rather subjective idea since some people love the landscape when all the leaves have changed and others enjoy a blend with some green still on the trees.  There are certain trees that change very early – like many maples – and if you wait until you see the word “peak” to go leaf-peeping  you will miss those colors.

Foliage is already worth viewing in northern areas and the higher elevations. Foliage Network


Seasons occur because the Earth is tilted on its axis at 23.5 degrees.

As the Earth revolves around the sun, different amounts of sunlight reach the surface of the planet at different angles and for varying amounts of time.

Those two variables – length of daylight and angle that sunlight hits the Earth – give us our different seasons.

At the equator, both daylight and angle of the Sun don’t change much. That’s why tropical areas around the equator pretty much have the same weather all year.

Here in Maine the angle of the sunlight and the amount of daylight have dramatic swings.  In the summer we have over 15 hours between sunrise and sunset; in winter that number goes below 9 hours.  In summer the sun is nearly 70 degrees above the horizon at noon, in winter it’s only about 23 degrees above the horizon – an incredible shift bringing about temperature changes of over 100 degrees from winter to summer. Pretty awesome!

The fall equinox arrives September 22nd – that’s today! NOAA

]]> 0, 22 Sep 2017 06:48:37 +0000
Is the current season of monster hurricanes the new normal? Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:00:00 +0000 It’s been a very active hurricane season with some incredible storms reaching levels rarely seen in the Atlantic ocean. From Houston to the Keys in Florida to Barbuda and San Juan, Puerto Rico, there’s been a lot of damage from tropical systems this year. It’s only natural to ask what’s going on with the weather and why this year has been so active with so much destruction.

Hurricane Maria reached Category 5 strength this week. NOAA-GOES 16

Good science demands we ask good questions. One thing we should be asking is how much influence man-made factors might be having on the number of hurricanes, their strength and even the track of these storms. Another factor is the role of natural fluctuations in the global climate, such as El Nino, La Nina, this decade. (If you’re reading with preconceived ideas it may be difficult to see beyond your own ideological view.)

The reality of most issues is often found somewhere in the middle of two different thoughts. When it comes to the role humans play with our weather and climate, the truth likely lies straddled between the ideas that humans are causing all these big storms and the idea that nature is just being nature and these things would occur regardless of whether we drive SUV’s or not.


Natural variability plays an enormous role in each hurricane season. Whether or not there is an El Nino, things like the amount of dust and dry air coming off sub-Saharan Africa, whether the Atlantic is in it’s warm or cold phase and the relative strength of the Bermuda high all influence the number of tropical systems that occur each season. This is why this year’s hurricane season was accurately predicted to be average long before it began.

An article this past April in The Journal of Geophysical Research looked at many of the natural variables and how much influence they have on each hurricane season. These factors can change monthly, yearly or even over decades. The chart below shows many of these different variables in each square: red is indicative of a positive often warm phase, blue a negative, often cooler phase.  Depending on the phase of the particular variable, it can either help bring about a more active hurricane season or a less active one. If you have several variables all favoring more tropical activity, such as this year, we see very active seasons. The opposite has been true as recently as 2014 when there were only 8 named storms.

Standardized time series of various climate indices used in this study: (a) AMO, (b) Atlantic relative SST, (c) Atlantic SST, (d) subpolar gyre temperature, (e) AMM, (f) Sahel rainfall, (g) standard NAO, (h) mobile NAO, (i) SST anomaly over the Nino3.4 region, (j) SSNs, and (k) 100 hPa temperature over the MDR. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Volume 122, Issue 8, pages 4258-4280, 25 APR 2017 DOI: 10.1002/2016JD026103


Of course human influence on the climate is widely accepted and some of the warming we have observed over the past 100 years is due to man’s influence. It’s naive to think anthropogenic warming has no influence on the planet or its weather patterns.

In the journal Climate Dynamics back in 2014, researchers looked at the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes with regard to observed warming trends. The researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research concluded the number of hurricanes wasn’t changing, but those that did occur were more likely to be in the stronger category than a few decades ago.

Relationship of annual Cat 4–5 proportions to annual variations in tropical SST anomalies relative to the 1975–2010 mean: a global proportions, b western North Pacific proportions. The data are binned into 0.1 °C intervals from which average, maximum, and minimum proportions are derived. Holland, G. & Bruyère, C.L. Clim Dyn (2014) 42: 617.


Last year, Nam-Young Kang and James B. Elsner wrote about a tradeoff between intensity and frequency of global tropical cyclones. Their paper, like the NCAR research above, found no significant increase in the overall number of storms in the past century, but the storms which did occur were more likely to be in the stronger category.  

NOAA data is similar, but does show an increase in short-lived smaller storms. For those that argue there are more storms now, remember that satellites were not used to see these storms prior to 1960 and we are now naming tropical storms that would not have gotten a name 50 years ago.

Atlantic tropical storms lasting more than 2 days have not increased in number. Storms lasting less than two days have increased sharply, but this is likely due to better observations. Figure adapted from Landsea, Vecchi, Bengtsson and Knutson (2009, J. Climate)


We can make some conclusions from this research. First, we are not seeing a new normal in terms of the frequency of hurricanes. This year’s higher than average activity is primarily due to cyclical climate factors, not a warmer ocean. However, the fact that some of these storms reached such intense levels may be attributed to the warming oceans over the past century. While the trend line for the number of storms remains essentially flat, (we will have active and inactive years in the future) those storms which do occur appear to be getting stronger. This has important ramifications for how individuals, local government and even FEMA all prepare for these storms.  

Whether a hurricane hits a populated area is somewhat due to just bad luck, but when they do hit, it appears the odds of a particular storm bringing stronger winds, higher storm surges and more rain may be something we need to get used to.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

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Maine will feel some effects from Tropical Storm José Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:56:21 +0000 This morning Hurricane José was downgraded to a tropical storm. The track of the storm will take the heaviest winds out over the ocean.  A high surf advisory continues for the coast of Maine and if you are headed onto the ocean be extra cautious with the large waves and rip currents.

José is too far away and weakening to have a major impact in Maine. NHC

It’s going to be a cloudy day for all of us and there could be scattered showers around the area and – less likely – even a quick tropical downpour.  I don’t expect much in the way of total rainfall as the heaviest rain with José stays over the ocean.

The predictive radar for today has some showers over coastal Maine from José. WeatherBell

Winds will be noticeable at times today, but there are no advisories or warnings for wind around greater Portland.   There is a small craft advisory for the coast.  Another potential issue from the storm is going to be the beach erosion. The persistent flow of wind off the water the past several days will continue into Thursday and it may change the shape of several beaches – especially those exposed directly to the ocean.   The erosion won’t be major, but when the storm finally winds down I suspect  beach sand will end up being the main casualty. 

Rough seas and some gusty wind over coastal York County are part of the minor impact of tropical storm Jose

Rough seas and some gusty wind over coastal York County are part of the minor impact of tropical storm José. NWS-Gray

Overnight tonight, as the storm continues to move ever so slowly toward the east, the chance of showers will diminish to nearly zero

Clouds are going to depart early Thursday because the storm will relax its effects on Maine. Look for sunshine to return to all areas and if the clouds linger over coastal York County early, they should clear during the morning.  Temperatures will respond quite well and reach into the 70s.  

Summer Weekend Ahead

If it weren’t for this particular storm it would have been quite warm all week. The persistent easterly flow has kept the warm air at bay.  But as the storm pulls away I’m looking for much warmer weather this weekend.   The fog that has plagued much of the coast will cease being a factor.  Inland areas will reach the upper 70s Saturday and into the 80s on Sunday.  Even the coast should be warmer than average this weekend with Portland nearing  80 for Sunday.

Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico hard

The eye of Maria surrounded by the strongest winds in a hurricane is passing over Puerto Rico this morning.   The image shows the eye on the south side of the island moving north.  Some of the strongest winds are now hitting that island.

Hurricane Maria this morning is hitting Puerto Rico very hard. NWS San Juan

Maria will remain a hurricane and needs to be monitored for any impacts to the United States mainland next week.  At present, computer models keep it offshore, but this could change.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 20 Sep 2017 19:35:16 +0000
Thick fog hangs around with rain coming, thanks to Jose Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:03:36 +0000 Once again thick fog spread over much of the region this morning.

This time of the year, the sun’s angle is much lower and we tend to have a harder time “burning off” the fog. That’s in quote mark because the sun really doesn’t burn away the fog, it actually heats the ground to create a big enough spread between the temperature and dew point to lower the relative humidity, lifting or dissipating the fog. The point is, the fog may be quite reluctant to disappear along the immediate coast today and the islands could stay rather gloomy all day.

Dense fog is a problem through mid-morning, but, but some fog can linger all day at the coast. Dave Epstein

There may be some drizzle, especially this morning, but really no showers. The next chance for rain doesn’t come until Tuesday or Tuesday night into Wednesday when Jose passes closest to southern Maine. By then Jose won’t be anything more than a weakening tropical storm.

Hurricane Jose is attracting a lot of buzz in the Northeast, and the storm’s projected track takes it meteorologically close to New England  Wednesday. As with any storm, there are still unknowns at this point. Forecasters aren’t yet sure of the storm’s exact track, or how it will move later this week and into the weekend. No matter how the track evolves, you can expect some rough surf and strong rip currents through at least Wednesday.


Jose shouldn’t be a big deal for us here in Maine. Seas of 5 to 6 feet offshore with some breezy conditions is as bad as it gets for us. If the storm came a bit closer  we could see more rain, but we could use some rain, so that’s more of an inconvenience, not a flooding issue.

If the storm tracks a bit further east we could miss a lot of the rainfall. I still believe we will see some rain, but amounts could be very low with a track further east and south.

The latest track for the National Hurricane Center as of 5 a.m. Monday. NHC

Clouds from Jose will thicken Monday night, and some showers will show up over coastal southern Maine Tuesday afternoon or evening, then move north and west. The rain stays in the forecast through Wednesday. It won’t rain all the time, but showers and even downpours are possible at least into early Wednesday. Whether we clear out or still have showers later this week depends on the track of the storm.

The chance is very small , under 20 percent, winds ever reach tropical storm force in Maine. NHC

New England does get hurricanes, but Jose isn’t going to be that type of storm. Think of this as a being brushed by wet nor’easter: It might be long lasting, but we won’t know for a few days. The rough seas are definitely the most dangerous aspect of this storm so be extra cautious on or near the ocean.


Where Jose goes determines the weather, and the track becomes very questionable about three days out. Some of the models take the storm farther east after its closest pass to New England on Wednesday. This would mean a better second half of the week with increasingly sunny skies.

Other models slow down the storm and loop it around south of New England. This would keep clouds, showers and even breezy conditions in the forecast through Friday. I’d give these longer-lasting storm impacts about a 30 percent chance of happening.

Jose may do a loop south of New England later this week.

There are two other tropical systems in the Atlantic, too. Maria is going to become a major hurricane in the next few days and will likely impact many of the same areas in the Caribbean that Irma hit.  

Lee fell apart overnight and is no longer a named storm.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter: @growingwisdom.


]]> 0, 18 Sep 2017 14:08:04 +0000
Summery weekend ahead and then…Jose? Fri, 15 Sep 2017 11:03:02 +0000 A few showers and even some heavier downpours crossed the area overnight.  An upper level trough, or dip in the flow of atmospheric winds, moves through the region this afternoon with a renewed chance of showers and storms.

This is the type of day where some of you will stay dry and others see a heavier downpour.  Humidity is going to remain high for mid-September when typically the air has more of a crisp feel to it.  However, this past August was unusually dry with some rather cool nights so I suppose this is just a sort of balancing of things.

Overnight clouds remain locked in place along with some patches of fog.  For you early risers, it could be a bit murky first thing Saturday, but have confidence, things will quickly improve.

The weekend itself is going to be pretty darn nice.  The only fly in the ointment as the saying goes is a chance of a pop-up shower Saturday, mainly in the hills, but this is a small chance and you should focus on the blend of clouds and sunshine in the forecast, not the shower possibility, it’s too small to worry about.

Saturday is quite warm for mid-September. NOAA-Gray

Sunday will also be quite warm with highs nearing 80 well inland in the low to mid 70s on the coastal plain.

Sunday features a lot of sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures. NOAA-Gray

Jose Plays A Role In The Forecast, We Just Don’t Know If It’s A Bit Part Or Starring One Yet

Next week our attention will be on Jose, whatever state that storm is in by that time. The models continue to bring the storm closer to New England and at the very least we are going to see some rough seas and rip currents along our shores.

The trend of the models means there is a possibility of rain and wind in the region in the middle of the week.  It’s impossible to have any sort of confidence in exactly how Jose might impact us.  The storm, even if it was a hurricane, would need to get close enough to the region for the strongest winds to ever be felt onshore.  Rainfall and gusty winds however, occurs much farther away from the center.  This means a pass of even 150 miles could bring a few showers and some gusty winds, closer than that and the rainfall increases as does the wind.

Jose is forecast to be a hurricane next week well south of New England.

Jose is forecast to be a hurricane next week well south of New England. National Hurricane Center

At this point, I would think about what would you do if a strong tropical storm or minimal hurricane reached the shores of southern New England.  Most notably, do you have a boat in the water that would need to come out.  Beyond that, lets focus on the nice weather coming up for the weekend and try not to worry about the possibility of a storm for next week.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 15 Sep 2017 09:47:06 +0000
Stunning September weather for a few more days Tue, 12 Sep 2017 10:40:19 +0000 This summer was pretty average in terms of heat and moisture.  We didn’t have a drought nor did we have any prolonged extreme high temperatures.  When we get a few added bonus days of 80 degree warmth in September it’s rather nice to see the summer extended a bit.  Of course, most are in school or working so the day can be wasted, but it’s a great chance to take your lunch outside today and know the kids are having a lot of fun at recess in the late summer sunshine.

We can thank high pressure for this stunning weather.  The high keeps the air from gaining any moisture and leaves us with all sunshine.  With the early season cold air still way up in Canada, the air warms up a bit each day.

Highs will reach the 80-degree mark around much of Greater Portland Tuesday. NOAA

Today’s highs reach the warm 80 mark, and some interior spots could exceed it by a few degrees.  The coast is typically cooler, but even areas east of Brunswick will enjoy readings in the 70s.

September brings very comfortable sleeping weather.  For me, this is ideal stuff.  The mornings are cool for an hour or two, but overall it’s just great for leaving the windows open all night.

Overnight lows are in the 40s and 50s regularly this time of year. NOAA

Late this work week a few showers will cross the area.  This moisture will have once been loosely associated with Irma and there will be headlines about that, but it’s a talking point, not meteorologically significant; it’s just the chance of showers.

Jose will continue to spin in the Atlantic.  The most likely scenario is it misses New England in about 7-10 days, but it does need to be watched as the forecast here could change.   September is the most active period for Atlantic hurricanes and Jose is forecast to continue to be a hurricane after weakening today.  The track keeps it offshore for the rest of the week.  Some models bring it closer to the Northeast coast next week, but more are keeping it offshore.

Jose is forecast to weaken and then return to hurricane status. NHC/NOAA

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 12 Sep 2017 06:40:19 +0000
Where will Irma’s eye hit? What computer models can – and can’t – tell us Fri, 08 Sep 2017 11:26:16 +0000 Irma is a historic storm with the potential for historic damage to Florida and perhaps other Southeastern states, depending on its track.

Over the past week we’ve all seen a lot of maps with a lot of possible scenarios for Irma’s eventual landfall here in the U.S.  We’ve seen what this storm is capable of already in the Caribbean.  For the general public, it can be difficult to understand what you are looking at with all the lines on some of those maps.  Many of the lines and the maps are not even that useful and are just shown for illustrating an idea, rather than a specific forecast.

Irma moving through the Atlantic Thursday. NOAA

Forecasters aren’t going to know until sometime Saturday where Irma is going to go with regard to Florida. Even then, there will still be a level of uncertainty. Different models and different versions of the same model are showing meteorologists a variety of possible solutions for where this storm will go.

Hurricane-force winds are in a relatively small area around the eye compared to the overall clouds. Dave Epstein

The eventual exact path is going to determine whether major, perhaps even catastrophic damage occurs or not.  One of the reasons for this is because although the cloud shield of a hurricane can cover hundreds of miles, the inner core of strongest winds doesn’t go out very far from the center, at least comparatively speaking. Travel 50 miles in any direction from the center of the storm, and winds rapidly drop below hurricane force.   

The uncertainty means a much wider area needs to be warned than will actually be impacted by the most ferocious part of any hurricane, including this one.  Also, the wind field will actually expand over Florida, so a large area could potentially see gusts to hurricane strength, but not Category 5 winds.

Winds over 74 mph could be felt over some of the most populated areas of Florida by early Sunday. WeatherBell

Worst Case Scenario

For southern Florida and the big cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale a track where Irma came onshore around Key Largo would be devastating.  This would bring the strongest winds and the biggest storm surge in that area.  Although building codes have improved over the past 25 years, newer construction remains untested in the force of such a storm.  We’ve never seen a storm this powerful move over such a populated area.

Best Case Scenario

The storm moves east of Florida keeping the strongest winds and storm surge over the ocean.  This would be similar to Matthew’s track a year ago.  The storm would likely then move into Georgia or the Carolinas, sparing the densely populated region of Florida, but obviously being horrible for states to the north.

Other Scenarios

The storm could also move farther west and head up the western side of Florida.  This would, depending on the exact path cause big issues for the western part of Florida, but the storm would weaken inland and pose less of a catastrophic hit farther north.  

A Lot Of Models

You often hear about the two major models: the one from Europe (Euro) and the one here in the United States (GFS).  These are “run” every 12 hours for the Euro and every 6 hours for the GFS.  That’s when we receive a new idea of how the models think the atmosphere will behave.

Not all models are very good at forecasting a hurricane.

Some models try to forecast the hurricane, but aren’t made for this type of forecasting and aren’t really worth looking at to make a forecast, yet they are often shown on TV or on the web.  It’s important to remember this when viewing these so-called “spaghetti plots.”

Meteorologists look for trends in these models in terms of a storm’s track and strength.  We also know certain models tend to have their own biases, such as moving a storm too fast, too far in one direction or even being too wet or dry.   The Euro has been the most consistent model and, while not perfect, I would offer that it does outperform the GFS overall.

The European mode has been the most consistent so far with Irma’s track. (Philippe Papin‏ University of Albany)

Different Versions Of The Same Model

Another tool we are using is called ensemble forecasting.  This takes the same model, like the GFS or Euro and runs it with slightly different conditions.  Think about using the same recipe by changing the oven temperature by a degree or two to see if there is any difference in the outcome.  When the ensembles agree (same outcome) we gain more confidence in the forecast.  The ensembles are still not converging on a singular solution for how the storm impacts Florida.  Notice the map below, all those circles are different spots the ensemble members of the GFS believe Irma will be this weekend.  It can’t be in all those spots at once, but we have to make a forecast to the best of our ability.

The GFS ensembles still have a wide range of possible tracks for Irma. WeatherBell

Consensus Track

The Hurricane Center is taking all of this information and more and coming up with a best guess as to the future track of Irma.  You can see this track shift east or west every 3 to 6 hours when a new forecast is made.  The shifting is based on the models and a lot of meteorologists conferencing on why a particular model may be better and thus have more influence on the consensus track.

The track of Irma is likely to go over south Florida early Sunday. Florida Water Management

The cone of uncertainty takes into account all these variables to let residents know that although there is a predicted, most likely track, it can shift 100 miles or more in a given direction.  I would love nothing more than for this storm to actually stay off the coast and then weaken before making any eventual landfall, but authorities need to let people know of the worst-case scenario because as we just saw in Houston, that can actually happen, regardless of the low probability or not.

Irma is a powerful Category 4 storm Friday morning. NHC

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 08 Sep 2017 18:29:31 +0000
Here’s what makes powerful Irma a truly rare storm Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:10:05 +0000 Irma is one of the strongest hurricanes ever to move across the Atlantic basin.

It’s coming on the heels of Harvey, the first Category 4 storm to reach the United States mainland since Charley hit Florida in 2004.

Since Harvey and Irma are both major hurricanes it’s tempting to make comparisons.  Some of these are valid; others not so much.  

A close-up image of Irma Wednesday morning as it passed by the Caribbean island of St. Martin. NOAA

Irma really has entered a class of its own: It’s a storm quite rare in the annals of intensity.  

Harvey brought record rain because of unusually weak upper-level winds which kept the storm from moving very much, but the storm itself was a rather typical major hurricane. Major hurricanes are not unusual, they just don’t happen every year.

All hurricanes are basically rotating clusters of thunderstorms around a central eye.  

Think of the worst thunderstorm you’ve ever experienced. Now imagine that type of storm with 185 mph winds, and you have Irma. By comparison, winds when Harvey made landfall gusted to 132 mph, which are exponentially less intense and a full hurricane category lower.

Hurricane season peaks in September. NOAA

We still don’t know if Irma will come onto shore in the United States or what category it might be if it does, but it has the potential to be worse in terms of wind and storm surge. However, the rainfall will not come close to that of Harvey, no matter how strong Irma gets, because it’s just moving too fast.

Because Harvey was a slow-moving hurricane, it dropped a record amount of rainfall. However, the winds, while strong, didn’t set any records.

Harvey’s minimum atmospheric pressure of 938 millibars was typically low for a hurricane, but Irma’s low of 914 millibars put it in the top 10 lowest in the Atlantic and actually the lowest in the area of the Atlantic it’s moving through (outside of the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico).

Harvey brought over 4 feet of rain to parts of Texas. Associated Press

Irma has already set many records as of this writing. Perhaps there are more to come.

The winds of 185 mph ties for the second-strongest winds of all time in Atlantic hurricanes.

 The Florida Keys storm of 1935, Gilbert in 1988 and Wilma in 2005 also had this level of wind.  Only Allen in 1980, with winds of 190 mph, was stronger.

When Irma went through the chain of islands known as the Leewards on Wednesday morning with these strong winds it became the strongest known hurricane to ever pass through this area.

Irma hitting St. Martin on Wednesday morning.

Meteorologists like to use something called Accumulated Cyclone Energy to measure the strength of a storm.  It also helps scientists keep track of whether overall storms are increasing in their strength.  

Irma has accumulated more ACE energy than the previous eight named storms this season, including Harvey.  Irma generated more ACE energy in a 24-hour period than any other hurricane on record in the tropical Atlantic, breaking the 1980 record set by Allen.  I think these ACE statistics, more than any other, really capture just how unique Irma really is.   


Accumulated Cyclone Energy is one way to measure a storm’s intensity. NOAA

We have now had 11 named storms this hurricane season.  Katia became a tropical storm Wednesday morning, becoming the 11th.

Only in 1933, 1936, 1995, 2005, 2011, and 2012 have we reached this number of storms so early in the season.  

Hurricane season comes to a close Nov. 30.  We have a lot of potential for more storms this year.

Only time will tell if there are more major hurricanes to track in the coming weeks or the atmosphere decides to take a break after so much activity.

The Hurricane Center is tracking three named storms Wednesday. NOAA/NHC

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom


]]> 0, 06 Sep 2017 13:20:01 +0000
Hurricane Irma one of the most intense hurricanes ever in Atlantic basin Tue, 05 Sep 2017 18:40:49 +0000 Hurricane Irma, is now a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts exceeding 200 mph. If a storm were to hit land with this sort of intensity, catastrophic damage would result. Hurricanes, of course, form over the ocean and, unless they reach land, really don’t create any issues for anything besides ships and fish. This storm is now at the highest intensity category for a hurricane.  There is no Category 6.

Hurricane Irma churns westward across the south Atlantic on Tuesday afternoon. NHC

Life-threatening Type Of Storm

Irma is getting a tremendous amount of attention for several reasons. First, it’s a very dangerous storm. If this hurricane hits land, we are looking at more human suffering on a widespread scale. Second, after Harvey, everyone is aware of worst-case scenarios. They usually don’t happen, but they can. Irma, coming so close on the heels of Harvey, is generating a tremendous amount of coverage. Get used to it. The coverage isn’t going to end soon. Third, in a world of massive social media information, actual experts, backyard enthusiasts and people with no idea how to forecast, everybody is weighing in on Irma.  If there was a category for hype, we are rapidly approaching a Category 5.

The path of Hurricane Irma can fluctuate by hundreds of miles from current long-range forecasts. NHC

Make no mistake, the threat to the islands of the Lesser Antilles, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the United States is real. However, there are still many unknowns. Computer models aren’t perfect.

As this storm moves westward and then eventually turns north, a difference in track of 50 miles can mean someone’s house is wiped off its concrete slab versus losing a few shingles. The most intense winds from this storm are highly concentrated near the eye of the storm. Notice the wind history below as Irma has moved across the Atlantic.

Hurricanes typically have a relatively small wind field of hurricane force winds to their overall size. NHC

Hurricane force winds only are found about 50 miles from the center of the storm in all directions.  (NHC)

Rainfall and storm surge

Most of the deaths from these storms occur from water, not wind. The storm will push a wall of water, known as the storm surge, along its path. As the storm approaches an area, the strong wind and pressure differences around the storm create a bubble of water sometimes 10 or 15 feet high, which then moves onshore and destroys many buildings along the way.

Storm surges cause more damage than wind in many hurricanes. GIPHY

This storm won’t bring 4 feet of rain as did Harvey, because it won’t stall. However, there still could be 1 to two 2 of rain in it’s path. This can obviously create extensive fresh water flooding.

Threat to the United States and New England

We know Irma is going to continue in a general westward movement the rest of the week.  We also know eventually it takes a turn to the north. The precise timing of the turn is critical to how the U.S. is impacted. If the turn occurs early enough, the storm could move along the coastline and not hit land. If the change in direction occurs just south of Florida, the storm could move through that state and then head north along the coast affecting multiple regions, even New England. The storm would weaken dramatically along the way, but still create issues here sometime late next week.

The path of Irma beyond a couple of days still is unknown.

Less likely, the storm misses Florida and heads into the Gulf of Mexico before coming north. This would bring likely bring a major hurricane of wind and rain to the Gulf Coast, but no major issues for New England.

Upper Pattern Evolution

There are three major players in the forecasting game we need to watch.  There are two highs and a trough all vying for control of the steering wheel of Irma. Alone, the forecasting puzzle would be easier, but when you have all three and each changes hour to hour, it makes this more challenging. That’s one of the reasons there is less confidence beyond this weekend. There will be several changes to the track of the storm in the days ahead. A path over the mountains of Hispaniola and Cuba would weaken the storm, a path which stayed over water and then hit Florida would be the worst-case scenario, let’s hope we only have one worst-case storm this season and it already happened.

How the upper pattern unfolds in the coming days will be critical to where the storm turns north this weekend.

The evolution of the upper pattern in the coming days will determine the track of Irma

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0 Tidbits/Dave Epstein Annotation Tue, 05 Sep 2017 21:13:30 +0000
Daylight rapidly decreasing, and that brings new opportunities Tue, 05 Sep 2017 08:00:32 +0000 It happens every year, yet this annual occurrence is still somewhat of a shock to our collective psyche.  I talking about the rapid loss of daylight we are all experiencing right now and all the other pieces that go along with it.  Here’s the thing: While the lack of light will continue to become worse, nature is responding in amazing ways that are truly wonderful to observe. Before those 4:04 p.m. sunsets arrive, we have a lot of transformations. Some are clear, others more subtle and require a keen eye to see.  

Light loss maxes out at nearly 3 minutes per day in September.


Sept. 5 begins the three-month period when temperatures fall most rapidly and the one-month period when day length decreases most rapidly.  Over the next three weeks, we will actually lose about an hour of daylight. This past weekend we had 13 hours of daylight, but the end of the month, it’s under 12 hours, all of this signals huge changes to nature. Areas that were bathed in warm summer sunlight eight weeks ago now remain cool within increasingly expanding midday shadow.  Indeed, the highest the sun reaches early September is a full 10 degrees higher than it will be as the month turns to October.


All this light loss can bring about feelings of sadness for more daylight, but also gives us an opportunity to slow down.  As the sun sets before 7 p.m. next week, we won’t feel the same sort of pressure to return to the outside as we did a couple of months ago.  Mornings are certainly darker, as the sun breaks the horizon 75 minutes later than it did back in late June, but now you can listen to a stillness that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. Birds are not longer singing at the crack of dawn, instead the year round residents call out less frequently and with totally different song.

In Chinese culture there are actually five seasons, the four we are most familiar and a fifth – late summer.   

Late summer is that time when Earth is about to go into that big fall transition, but still hasn’t cooled significantly.  It’s a small window, from roughly late August until the final week of September when autumn begins.  The season is associate with  the element Earth, paying homage to the bounty of the time of year when the earth is giving us so much. Head to any farmers market and you’ll quickly realize this is peak harvest season.

Late summer brings a wide variety of fresh produce. Dave Epstein

Summer’s final days mean birds have long ago fledged, but aren’t yet moving into their winter flocks. Hummingbirds are still at our feeders dancing in parabolic arcs with lightning precision. Nature reveals much in this fifth season, but we need to take an active role to see it. Berries, the autumnal food of choice for a plethora of fauna aren’t fully colorful yet, but none the less add interest in the landscape. They continue to swell a bit more each day on many types trees and shrubs. Migrating birds will clear many of them in the coming weeks. The deep autumn colors are a month or more away, yet there’s other hues, softer and subtle to enjoy as noontime shadows increase.

The berries of Ilex Verticillata have not turned red in early September. Dave Epstein


Sept. 22 is the fall equinox. On that day we will have already lost half our potential day length and will begin the two month period of most rapid temperature falls. It may surprise you the loss of daily light actually slows down from the peak of 2 minutes and 50 seconds each revolution of the planet this time of year to about 90 seconds late in November.By Thanksgiving, so much daylight will have already vanished there will be only 20 minutes more to lose before reaching the yearly minimum, less than a month later.

Nature gives us a gift of change with each passing day, open it with your eyes and behold the glory of this amazing natural world around us and these predictable wonders of each year.

Follow Dave Epstein on twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 20:31:02 +0000
Should Mainers be concerned about Hurricane Irma? Fri, 01 Sep 2017 16:53:40 +0000 Just in time for the peak of hurricane season, Irma, a Category 2 hurricane, continues to roll westward across the Atlantic. 

As of late morning Friday, Irma was a Category 2 storm. NOAA/NHC

Peak of the Season

Meteorological summer came to a close on Thursday, so we are now entering the peak of hurricane season. Of course, storms have and will hit New England before and after this period, but the odds are greatest over the next 10 days.

A hurricane hasn’t hit in over two decades

It’s important to keep in mind that the odds of a major hurricane hitting New England are quite small.  

The last hurricane to reach the shores of the region was Bob back in 1991, and the last major, Category 3 storm to strike was Carol on Sept. 1, 1954.  The winds in that storm, 63 years ago, were actually stronger than those experienced in Texas when Harvey made its first landfall.

It’s quite uncommon for a storm to still have hurricane strength upon reaching Maine. Donna was a Category 1 when it entered the state back in 1960.

Heavy rain, but not 50 inches

Aside from the wind, tropical systems can bring tremendous rainfall.

Images from the Gulf Coast showing the unprecedented amount of water beg the question whether the torrents witnessed there could happen here?  The short answer is no.

Meteorologically, even a stalled system is highly unlikely, if not close to impossible, to bring us the rainfall we have seen in Texas and Louisiana.  The reason: Conditions created by the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico and the warmth of those waters simply don’t exist here.  

While we can pretty much rule out getting 4 feet of rain here, we should take note that major hurricanes do hit New England.

What about Irma?

It’s very early in the forecasting game for Hurricane Irma.

While this storm is certainly getting itself better organized, we don’t know for sure how strong it will become.

Some models ramp her up to a Category 4,  but not a 5, which is the strongest, while other models predict something less intense.

As of late Friday morning Irma had weakened a bit.  This is expected as these storms undergo different cycles of strengthening.

The eye, which is the calm center of the storm, is surrounded by the eye wall, which is the most intense part of the storm. This undergoes various configurations of weakening and strengthening during a long-track hurricane such as Irma.

Late this weekend the storm will be above warmer water, one reason for a forecast of a stronger system.

Irma is continuing a path west toward the islands in the Caribbean. NOAA

The next question is where this storm will track in the coming week to 10 days and whether it could affect the United States.  Here again the models offer numerous possibilities for the eventual path of Irma.

Various models take Irma into different spots of the south Atlantic next week.

How hurricanes move

Hurricanes are typically steered by pressure systems around them and most notably by high pressure typically found in the Atlantic. Tropical systems are forced to go around these highs.  The exact placement and strength of the high as well as its interaction with other weather systems to the west and east create a funnel of flow for the hurricane.   

The Bermuda high acts as a steering tool for tropical systems. NOAA

The image above is an average.  In actuality, the high pressure area changes daily.  The lack of strong steering currents last week is why Harvey meandered so long around Texas.

Looking to the past

Back in 1960 Hurricane Donna crossed Long Island, New York, and then pushed from southern New England into Maine.  This storm brought 77 mph winds to Portland.

Donna reached Maine as a minimal hurricane in 1960. NOAA

Irma’s track

Assuming Irma remains a hurricane, it will likely affect the islands of the Caribbean next week and then move toward the United States.

Currently, it appears the storm will curve up along the East Coast, hit the East Coast or make a sharp right turn and head back out to sea. It’s all going to depend on how the weather systems evolve in the coming five to seven days, and it will take that long to really have a good idea if this is truly a threat to us or not.

The position and strength of high pressure over Hurricane Irma and the jet stream over the United States will determine the ultimate path of this storm. Tropical Tidbits

There’s little doubt there will be a lot of interest in Hurricane Irma over the next week. Her affect could be significant or she could be just another Atlantic storm with little impact.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom


]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:19 +0000
Sunshine returns Wednesday, cool air arrives Friday Wed, 30 Aug 2017 10:03:46 +0000 As we stand ready to conclude August and usher in the long Labor Day weekend, the region will continue to be spared any dramatic weather, but there are some interesting, noteworthy elements in the forecast over the coming week. These include our own brush with a coastal storm, a very chilly weekend morning and the eventual moisture from the remnants of Harvey.


Missed rain opportunity

A storm developing off the southeast coast of New England this morning had tropical possibilities, but they won’t be realized.  The track of this system will keep it well south of our area, and although the rain shield is quite extensive, it only penetrated as far north as Boston.  Our clouds from this system will decrease this morning and sunshine returns this afternoon.

Nice Thursday while a front passes

The sunshine is out full force Thursday.  However, a cold front will cross the area during the afternoon. A cold front can bring a gusty thunderstorm or two, but here again many miss it altogether.  This isn’t something to cancel outdoor plans, but they be briefly interrupted around 1-3 p.m.

A fall air mass brings temps down to the 30s!

Canadian air arrives Friday with a very chilly air Saturday and Sunday mornings.  If you are headed camping this weekend or are going to be outside early, be aware of some possible 30s over the higher terrain and those low lying hollows. The coastline, under the Atlantic’s influence, will remain milder.  All of us recover into the lower 70s Saturday afternoon under brilliant blue skies.  It may feel like fall has arrived in the morning, but the afternoons will warm quite nicely.

Some inland valleys and higher terrain will reach the upper 30s on Saturday morning.

Some inland valleys and higher terrain will reach the upper 30s on Saturday morning. WeatherBell

Harvey’s demise

For the southern United States it may seem like Harvey just won’t go away, but eventually on Thursday the system will fall apart as it moves north.  The jet stream will then capture what’s left of this historic system taking the remaining moisture, and there will be very little by then, over New England.  This brings the chance of showers on Sunday for a few hours.   For planning purposes, this is the least favorable of the three weekend days. However, it’s far from a washout.

A few showers may reach Monday Sunday from the remnants of Harvey. Tropical Tidbits

Lovely Labor Day

The unofficial end of the summer season will dawn comfortably cool and end up warm enough to be a good early September beach day.  As highs approach the mid-70s under the bright September sunshine, I hope  you’ll smile fondly with good memories of the summer of 2017 as we all begin to turn our attention to autumn.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0 ELIZABETH, ME - SEPTEMBER 6: Heat readiates off the sand Sunday at Crescent Beach State Park while Larry Nault and Jessie Sherwood lounge in the shade. Temperatures throughout the region were in the 80s with another hot day predicted for Labor Day. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:25 +0000
System bringing sun to Maine is helping to keep catastrophe in Texas Mon, 28 Aug 2017 15:52:25 +0000 As we all enjoy more fantastic weather here in New England, it’s probably difficult to see the devastating weather happening in Texas as even remotely related. The gaseous envelope surrounding the planet doesn’t know borders or care about them, and the fact that Harvey is more than 1,800 miles from Portland doesn’t mean the weather locally isn’t atmospherically connected. Society may be dealing with globalization of human endeavors, but meteorological and climatological globalization are simply truths.

The flow of moisture across the northern Hemisphere Monday. NOAA

Several weather systems, including the one giving us all the great weather here, are interacting to prevent the tropical system in Texas from making much progress north.

High pressure and a weak flow of air are keep Harvey from moving. Tropical Tidbits

As Monday dawned across the U.S., the satellite image of Harvey, the longest a Texas hurricane that made landfall has ever remained a named tropical system, continued to dump copious rainfall across a region utterly overwhelmed by trillions of gallons of water since the storm began.

GOES 16 Captures Harvey Monday morning.

GOES 16 Captures Harvey Monday morning.

The massive flooding in Texas is something the entire country – and even the world – is aware of. The UK’s Telegraph tweeted this image Monday:

The Telegraph in London tweeted about Harvey Monday. The Telegraph

The human impact in these situations is immeasurable and life-altering. The scientific piece of the storm is fascinating and the infrastructure element untested.


Forecasters often use the term “worse case scenario” because we want people to be aware of what might happen. Whether it’s a day with severe weather, an icing event or simply a snowstorm, there’s often the possibility of something extreme happening, but most often it never does. In the case of the system in Texas, the worse case scenario is occurring and subsequently all the impacts of such an event are being realized.

The coming months and even years will provide an opportunity for everyone from FEMA to local planning boards to ask themselves if they are ready for these extreme events and if the costs of making changes for these exceptional meteorological outliers is too great or worth any price.

A lot of what will happen in the coming days is unknown. There’s no real world way to test letting millions of gallons of water flow out of overflowed bayous and reservoirs into neighborhoods.  

It’s hard to understand how fast the water rises, but the chart below from just one of the many creeks around Houston can give you an idea. Late Saturday evening the water in Cypress Creek hadn’t even reached flood stage, yet by early Monday the creek was into record territory and was forecast to stay in the “major flood” category for the rest of the week.   

Many Texas area streams and rivers will remain in flood the rest of the week. NOAA

Imagine this type of situation replaying itself across much of greater Houston and, depending on how the rainfall materializes over the next 48 hours, the situation could get worse and spread into other communities east toward Louisiana.


Imagine breaking the record for longest baseball game ever by the sixth inning. I took at look at Houston’s wettest year ever recorded to see if the city was close to that record this early in the year. As of today, the city is about 8 inches away from it’s yearly record and with more downpours in the  forecast it’s not out of the question that Houston get’s close to this watershed number over the next couple of days.

Houston could receive enough additional rainfall to break their yearly record before September.

Houston could receive enough additional rainfall to break their yearly record before September. Dave Epstein


We love superlatives and there’s never been a tropical storm in the United States – at least from accurate records – when 50 inches of rainfall has occurred.

More rain is expected over areas which have seen nearly 30 inches or more already. NOAA

In order to reach 50 inches, one of the towns that has received 30 to 40 inches of rain would need to see another 10 to 20 inches fall. It’s possible. At this point, hitting a round number like 50 inches versus 47 won’t really matter and just makes for a noteworthy headline, but it’s amazing to even consider.   

The models generally agree the heaviest of the rainfall will stay east of Houston, but there may still be significant downpours coming. The situation will not get better until the rain stops and rivers have finally crested, which won’t happen in some areas until the weekend.


In addition to Harvey, there are two weather systems forecasters will be watching.

The first, likely to become Irma off the southeast coast, should have little impact on New England beyond some clouds and rough seas. (Stay tuned to forecasts, however, as things could change).

The second, which could become Jose, will travel across the Atlantic and whether it ever reaches the U.S. is still a bit of a “what if” scenario. This is the the most active time of the year for tropical weather, so if something is ever going to get to New England, the next few weeks brings our highest risk.

Two additional named storms are possible in the coming week.

Two additional named storms are possible in the coming week. NHC

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 28 Aug 2017 17:30:51 +0000
Weekend weather brings a taste of fall Fri, 25 Aug 2017 13:23:18 +0000 The weather over the next several days will have plenty of sunshine by day and generally clear comfortable nights.  Yesterday, many areas reached near 80, but that will be final 80-degree day for a while.  Starting today, highs will reach the mid-70s and will stay at that level into the weekend.

The reason for the nice weather is high pressure. The blue H on the weather map.  This big high in Canada keeps the weather quite nice through the weekend.  Since the high is of Canadian origin, temperatures are also going to be on the cooler side of average.

Strong high pressure keeps it clear through the weekend. NOAA

The biggest change we’ll experience day-to-day is in the daylight.  We are losing nearly 2 minutes and fifty seconds of time between the sunrise and sunset each day this time of year, rapidly approaching the autumnal equinox in less than a month.  The last sunrises before 6 a.m. are now occurring and for those of us, I put myself in this category, who are morning people, we are now getting up in the dark.

The length of time between sunrise and sunset continues to decrease. NOAA

As we head into next week the weather continues dry.  Harvey will be spinning itself to death somewhere over the southern part of the U.S. while we experience very dry weather.  Eventually, a front may pick up whatever moisture is left of Harvey late Labor Day weekend.  The map below shows what will be  some showers, perhaps including the remnants of Harvey over Maine in about 9 days.  This is so far into the future, it could change, especially the timing of any rainfall.

Showers may arrive later Labor Day weekend. Tropical Tidbits

The bottom line is  you can plan on sunny days with highs in the mid 70s and mainly clear comfortable nights in the mid 50s through the end of the month.  The drought won’t be getting any better, that’s for sure.

Drought continues in the same areas as the past week. NOAA

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.



]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:30 +0000
Dry weather prevails here, but in Texas, Harvey could be catastrophic Fri, 25 Aug 2017 00:00:59 +0000 Hurricane Harvey, which went from a cluster of thunderstorms to a tropical storm and then nearly died out, is now rejuvenated in a major way.  

This is a serious storm with serious potential consequences for Texas. This is something the United States hasn’t seen in over a decade, and the damage could be catastrophic for some areas.

Harvey became more organized Thursday evening. NOAA

You need to go back to the year 2005, the most active hurricane season on record – the one in which Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and Wilma hit Florida in October – to find the last time a major hurricane reached the shores of the United States. That year, four major hurricanes struck the U.S. and thereafter the major hurricane drought began. This is the longest such period since records started to be kept in the mid-1800s.  

Rapidly Stronger

As much as we understand about hurricanes, they can still surprise us.  Just days ago the forecast for Harvey was for it to come ashore as a tropical storm with a significant amount of rainfall.

Harvey will linger along the coast of Texas for several days. NHC

Now the forecast is for this to become a major hurricane with winds in excess of 110 mph.  The winds will be damaging, but the rainfall has the potential to be biblical in proportion.

The advisory Thursday evening from the Hurricane Center talks about the potential for nearly 3 feet of rainfall in isolated areas.  There are very few cases of rainfall amounts of that caliber.  Hurricane Amelia in 1978 did bring 48 inches of rainfall to Medina, Texas, so it’s not impossible.

Heavy rainfall is forecast for much of south Texas. Tropical Tidbits

Slow Movement

Tropical systems by nature have heavy rain. It’s when they move slowly or remain nearly stationary that freshwater issues arise.  

The storm surge from the ocean is created by the winds and the pressure differences around the center of the storm, but the rainfall creates street and river flooding which can sometimes lead to bigger problems.  The slow movement also leads to a good deal of uncertainty beyond 2 days as to exactly what happens with Harvey.

New England Impacts

It’s highly unlikely Harvey brings anything more than a few showers to the region in a week or more, if ever.

This storm could rain itself out well to our south with nothing more than a few showers here sometime in seven or more days, but of course that is so far into the future, it is hard to forecast.  

One thing is for sure: This won’t be a big deal here in New England, at least in terms of weather, but it could affect us in other ways.

High pressure keeps New England dry into the middle of next week. Tropical Tidbits

Oil and gas issues

When several hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast over a decade ago, we did see an impact here in New England in the form of higher energy prices.   

A Category 1 hurricane won’t have much impact on the energy sector along the Texas coast, but a Category 3 would.  If Harvey reaches that level you can be sure that, in spite of our sunny skies for the next week, you’ll notice the price of gasoline increasing.  

The storm, coming just before the Labor Day weekend, could hit our wallets, even if we don’t see a drop of rain here for another week.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:36 +0000
Warm temps, high clouds – and maybe smoke – for today’s eclipse Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:23:37 +0000 The day of the eclipse is finally here and the weather should be great. The only fly in the ointment I see is some high clouds from an upper level disturbance to our west.

As the sun was setting Sunday evening, you might have noticed some of these high wispy clouds showing up and this morning’s satellite loop clearly indicates high clouds moving east in the jet stream.

High clouds will move into the area today. Unisys Weather

High clouds don’t block out the sun completely, but they can change the way the disk of the sun appears, especially during an eclipse. As skies change between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., so will the way the sun appears to those hoping to view the eclipse in Maine.

The sun will not be completely covered by the Moon’s shadow today.

Another small factor will be smoke. Yes, smoke.  

There are wildfires burning in Canada and some of the smoke has been moving across our skies. There’s another pocket of smoke upstream which may give the sun a bit more of a reddish hue during the eclipse, especially over northern Maine.

Neither the smoke nor the cirrus clouds will block out the sun enough to prevent viewing, but each will make it a bit hazy for viewers.

Smoke will be in the air from Canadian wildfires today. NOAA

Remember, this is a partial solar eclipse in Maine so keep your expectations quite low. In spite of all the attention, it’s not going to be that big of a deal in this part of the country. It will become a bit less bright, but not anything where you’ll need to turn on your headlights or anything like that, and the temperature may fall a degree or two. In the parts of the country where this is a total eclipse, the mercury can fall nearly 10 degrees.

Take a walk in the woods during the eclipse and look at the leaves under the canopy of the trees. You will see projections of thousands of little eclipses on the leaves. This is a great way to get kids interested in science and safely watch the eclipse. Just don’t look up at the sun.

It won’t be too long before we have a total eclipse right here in New England. April 8, 2024, brings the path of totality through parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Of course, that time of year it’s more likely that it will be snow, not smoke, we’ll be talking about. Enjoy the show and use those protective glasses.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 21 Aug 2017 09:56:00 +0000
The eclipse is Monday, but will clouds wreck the view? Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:21:36 +0000 The solar eclipse Monday has gotten a lot of attention.  

All of us, no matter where we are in the United States, will have a chance to see at least a partial solar eclipse. And in some areas, people will see the sun become completely covered by the moon’s shadow.

 In Greater Portland the eclipse will begin about 1:30 in the afternoon, peak about about 2:45 p.m. and end a few minutes before 4 p.m.  

Don’t view the eclipse without ISO-approved glasses.  A quick glimpse of the sun won’t do any more harm than any other time of the year when you briefly look up in the middle of the day and your eye briefly catches the sun. It’s staring at it that would likely cause permanent damage.

About 60% of the sun will be covered by the moon’s shadow Monday. The path of totality will cross the United States on Monday morning into the afternoon. (Larry Koehn) NASA

Only one thing could go wrong. … That’s right: Clouds.

Right now there are some areas of the country where they could be an issue.  The image below, based on the GFS supercomputer model, shows some clouds in the western and central part of the United States, as well as parts of the Southeast, all near the path of totality.

Clear skies are forecast for much of New England for the eclipse, which is partial in this part of the country. WeatherBell


In the Northeast, high pressure is forecast to build into the region.  The weather associated with high pressure is generally nice and often quite clear.


High pressure will dominate the weather Monday, keeping clouds to a minimum. Tropical Tidbits


If the GFS model above is correct, the areas from Ohio to Maine and south to parts of Maryland should see generally clear skies.  This would making viewing the eclipse easy and take the weather factor out of the equation.   I took a closer look at other models which also show a forecast of high pressure over the Northeast.

High pressure doesn’t always mean there will be no clouds, though. Sometimes, areas of high pressure do have them.

 I have been reviewing the three possible layers of clouds according to the models.  We could see high, middle or low clouds.  High clouds can dim the sun, but the eclipse would still be visible, while middle and low clouds would be more problematic.

According to the GFS cloud forecast, all three layers should exhibit an absence of cloudiness.  Again, this is great news for eclipse watchers – in that high-pressure area.

The black colors on the cloud forecast indicate a lack of clouds. WeatherBell

The upper left image is a composite of the three layers. Since that quadrant is clear, it stands to reason the other three layers are forecast to be mainly clear as well.

There are still a few days, of course, until the actual eclipse. However, multiple signs are pointing to a great period of weather for viewing this event in the Northeast.  

While this is certainly an event that doesn’t occur often, it’s not that rare.  The next total eclipse for the United States is April 8, 2024, and the path of totality will go right over Mount Katahdin here in Maine.  You can be sure the weather is more likely to be a problem that time of year than the middle of summer.  

You can follow Dave Epstein @growingwisdom on Twitter.

]]> 0, 17 Aug 2017 12:24:36 +0000
Unsettled pattern may deliver rain to ease coastal drought Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:22:26 +0000 This has been an interesting summer of weather. Of course, I can’t think of any season when there’s not something that seems out of the ordinary, but that’s what makes it fun to discuss.

This summer’s main story seems to be about another drought along the coast, but adequate rainfall inland. I’ve gotten several tweets about the drought and many of you along the coast are lamenting the lack of rain. There are two opportunities for the coast to receive rain this week, the best on Friday night and early Saturday.

For sun worshipers, your days are coming soon. More on that shortly.


Today brings the chance for showers as they form in the mountains and move southeast. The coastline will see a chance for showers and storms in the late afternoon and evening. Some storms could contain strong gusty winds and even some hail, but it is almost as likely that some areas miss the showers altogether.

Showers and storms will form later Tuesday and move to the coast in the evening. WeatherBell


Wednesday and Thursday bring back the sunshine, with warm temperatures and no chance of rain. Vacationers can take advantage of being at the beaches or the lakes. While we don’t see any advisories along the Maine coast for heavy surf, there may be some large swells moving onshore later Wednesday. That would be caused by Hurricane Gert passing to our east.

Hurricane Gert will not directly impact the United States, but will bring some rough surf. National Hurricane Center


The thing about droughts is that they eventually end. We know that coastal Maine is going to get significant rain again, the tough part is predicting which of the upcoming weather systems will bring it. The rainfall deficit is now approaching 5 inches since June 1. Portland is only about an inch over the all-time driest June 1-August 15 on record. In other words, it’s dry out there.

The lack of rain is quickly deepening the drought in southern Maine. NOAA Data

On Friday evening, low pressure approaching from the west will bring an area of rain into New England. This may be accompanied by some steady hours of rain or even downpours. The weather system isn’t fully formed yet and the models will help forecasters determine just how much rain we will actually see by Saturday mid-morning. Greater Portland and much of the coastline would benefit from 2 inches of rain over a 12-to-18-hour period. Unfortunately, I see closer to a half-inch. That helps the drought, but won’t bust it.

An area of rain approaches New England on Friday. Tropical Tidbits.

Follow Dave Epstein’s forecasts on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 15 Aug 2017 13:16:58 +0000
The drought is back and shows no signs of leaving soon Fri, 11 Aug 2017 00:07:15 +0000 Much of New England has received adequate rainfall since the middle of the spring. But there are parts of the region, mostly in Maine, where drought is returning – and expanding.

Drought conditions exist across southern Maine. NOAA

After the multi-year dry period we just experienced, any signs that the drought is taking hold again warrant a closer look.

Certainly, after a wet May, a drought seemed improbable. But after several weeks of very dry weather, parts of Maine have abnormally dry conditions or a moderate drought.  

Right now, things are actually worse in many cases than last year.  If you travel along the coast, you’ll quickly notice the difference in the grass from the foothills where there’s been more rain.  And the abnormally dry conditions are expanding.  If we don’t see much rain in the next week, I expect other areas to go into abnormally dry status, the precursor to drought.

Rainfall compared to average has been particularly low around Greater Portland this summer. NOAA

For the past 60 days much of New England has actually been drier than normal. In Maine the driest area is around Greater Portland, where some places have seen only 10 to 25 percent of their typical summer rainfall. Lawns have gone brown. In some cases, there’s actually been less rainfall than a year ago.

The moisture levels were doing quite well up until a few months ago, but since June they have really started to decline.  

Since there was a good deal of rain in May and early June, this is more an agricultural drought than a groundwater one. But I would be cautious about well water usage the rest of the summer if things don’t improve.

We had seen adequate rainfall in the spring, but since June it’s been very dry. NOAA


Southern New England is doing quite a bit better.  Boston is still running a surplus of rainfall.  You can see how relatively even the precipitation has been over the past few months. This is why lawns continue to be so green around there.


Areas in southern New England have seen more rain this summer. NOAA

Looking ahead over the next 10 days, I expect the overall pattern of dry weather to continue. The forecast is for precipitation to be below average by nearly an inch in parts of the area. We don’t typically receive much more than an inch per week this time of year in the first place, so this would be quite a small amount.

Rainfall is forecast to be below average into the third week of August. WeatherBell

So far this summer, whenever a dry spell has started, we’ve seen a weather system come along to bring much-needed showers.

Whether that happens again in the third week of August is still in question.

Of course, there’s also always the possibility of a tropical system bringing copious rain. This is often how droughts end – and many of us could certainly could use it after another parched summer.

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:44 +0000
Nice beach weather continues today but showers possible for weekend Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:49:02 +0000 Skies cleared on Tuesday, and now we will see a couple days of sunshine and warm temperatures.

Maine is a big state and even the southern part of the region can have a variety of weather. In the overall dry pattern, a shower can still occur but the risk of showers is almost zero at the coast the next couple of days. It will increase Friday and for the weekend.

Highs Wednesday will reach warm levels making it a great beach day. David Epstein

Friday’s predictive radar shows some showers and perhaps thunderstorms developing in the mountains, but not at the coast. Remember, this has been the pattern for much of this summer.

Showers are possible in the mountains late this week. Tropical TIdbits.

Overall, this is good vacation weather. If you want to head to the beach or the lake, the next two days are ideal times to do so. Humidity levels are going to be low, and highs will be perfect for swimming. Water temperatures continue to rise heading toward their seasonal peaks in the coming week or two before falling back next month.

The forecast for the weekend is tricky. High pressure will relinquish its grip somewhat Saturday and Sunday and allow more clouds and the chance of showers to return to the forecast.

There isn’t going to be a big weather system this weekend, but there will be a series of small systems in the general flow. This makes the timing of the showers – if they occur at all – very difficult to predict.

The bottom line is the weekend will feature more clouds and the risk of showers. I would say Saturday appears to have a greater chance of precipitation, while Sunday may stay dry. More on this as we get closer to the weekend.

One thing that is still clear, I don’t see any major rain in sight. That is not good for farmers and backyard gardeners. The drought in northern and eastern Maine continues to expand and unless something changes in the coming weeks will likely last into fall.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 10 Aug 2017 05:42:42 +0000
Some much needed rain may arrive tonight and Tuesday Sun, 06 Aug 2017 12:58:35 +0000 Sunday was a stunning day with low humidity and a brisk dry breeze along with sunshine. Now we are watching a new area of clouds and rain associated with low pressure heading for New England.

Typically this time of year I would be challenged trying to figure out whether there will be thunderstorms or not. This has been the summer of the nor’easter with another one coming Monday evening into early Tuesday.

Most of the rain has missed coastal areas. Very dry conditions persist all along the Maine coast and some areas have an official drought. We will be on the edge of getting the upcoming rain and if the storm moves a bit further east, then we would miss the heaviest rain.

Drought has developed in parts of Maine NOAA

The exact track of this system will determine where the heaviest rain occurs. It appears the bulk of the rain will fall east the foothills, but west of that area there will be some showers as well.

The track of the storm Monday determines how much rain falls along the coast. Tropical Tidbits

The timing of the rain looks to bring it into the area as showers Monday midevening with a period of steady and perhaps heavy downpours overnight and early Tuesday. Monday’s morning commute should be dry, and the evening is likely dry, but if you are driving around overnight watch for some rain, especially over south coastal Maine.

Tuesday morning’s commute is likely wet as the rain tapers off to showers. The end of Tuesday will see some improving weather conditions and some areas, mainly north and west will see clearing before the sun goes down Tuesday.

The period from Wednesday through much of the upcoming weekend looks nice with a lot of sunshine, no chance of rain and low humidity levels. If you are on vacation this week, plan on indoor stuff to start the week and outdoor stuff starting Wednesday.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:51 +0000
Plenty of rain for some areas, but drought afflicting others Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:14:40 +0000 It was a wild evening yesterday over western and southern New England with flash flooding, hail, damaging winds and lots of lightning.  The air felt like the tropics and indeed just like in Florida when the cumulus towers build during the day they often eventually yield some big gully washers.

But those storms missed the Maine coastline again and this has been the summer pattern. Storms can’t seem to cross the Maine Turnpike if they make it there at all.  A drought is now official in eastern Maine and I’m surprised that more of the area from Brunswick to Penobscot Bay isn’t included. 

Drought is now official in eastern Maine. It’s still very dry along the coastline. NOAA

Those Dog Days

Yesterday’s inland storms are part of the typical summer pattern we are in with moderate to high humidity, warm temperatures and a chance of afternoon showers and storms. This time of year is often known as the Dog Days of August because we all feel rather lethargic in this tropical air.

Energy Helps Build Storms

Areas over New Hampshire have the highest risk of downpours this afternoon.  Along the coast I can’t rule out thunderstorms, but they are less likely and certainly won’t produce much rainfall except in isolated areas. 

Highest risk of downpours is in New Hampshire today. NOAA

This summer is very different from 2016 when we had little to no thunderstorm activity because of a persistent ridge of high pressure. The air in high pressure sinks and therefore storms can’t really build.  That ridge also kept it much warmer than average.  Last August was actually one of the warmest ever recorded in much of New England and was very dry as well.  This year some areas had more rain in July than many saw all summer last year. The heat is out west this summer as the ridge has been persistent in that part of the country.  The fact the coastline has been so dry is more of a localized phenomenon inside of a larger pattern.  Overall, New England is out of the drought, but it seems to want to build back again here in Maine.

We Keep Thunder In The Forecast

While today is starting out nice, the chance of storms is still in the forecast today, Friday and Saturday because of high humidity and strong early August sunshine.  Predicting if a particular town will get hit by a storm is impossible, but we do know the risk remains.

Showers are in the forecast through Saturday. Tropical Tidbits.

A cold front will pass through the area Saturday.  This front will put an end to the humidity and the heat.  As the front passes there is the risk for more showers and storms. Presently it looks like the bulk of atmospheric energy for these storms will be across northern New England.

Having a cold front move into this type of humidity always brings the risk of downpours and thunder.  Even so, I wouldn’t cancel any plans for Saturday; like yesterday, when coastal areas remained void of any storms, the same thing could happen around Greater Portland at the start of the weekend.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 03 Aug 2017 13:13:25 +0000
How long is the current warm weather going to last? Tue, 01 Aug 2017 16:50:56 +0000 When the summer nor’easter last weekend tracked far enough south to miss us, it opened the door for high pressure to build and start a wonderful stretch of weather.  

This high will keep control of the weather for several days until we come under the influence of a cold front to the west late this week and over the weekend.

Summer high pressure systems, like this week’s, often bring fairly predictable weather.  Confidence in forecasts dominated by high pressure is often greater than those with low pressure.  

The forecast for the rest of the week is partly to mostly sunny with a few afternoon or evening storms and highs in the upper 70s at the midcoast to mid- and even upper 80s over interior southern Maine.

The reason the weather is somewhat easier to forecast with highs is because of their structure. The air generally sinks and stays precipitation-free or is limited to a few showers.

 There can still be showers or storms, as was the case Monday.  Any weak system moving through the flow can ignite these storms, but much of the time it remains sunny or partly sunny and dry.

The wind flow around a high is also predictable. The right side of a high has a northerly flow. This usually brings comfortable cool weather and low humidity during the summer.  (If this was winter, this is when we would be seeing an arctic blast of air.)  

We’ve been on the right side of high pressure the past few days and that’s why it’s been relatively pleasant in terms of humidity.


Winds flow clockwise around high pressure. NOAA


As the high moves east and New England sits on the left or western side of the high, the weather turns even warmer and more humid.  This is due to the southerly flow of air bringing high temperatures from the south.  

Additionally, the air mass itself will warm simply due to the heating of the sun each day.  This is called air mass modification and even if a high just sits in one spot, the temperature will warm at least a degree or two day-to-day.

The backside of a high pressure area brings warmer air and more humidity. NOAA

Because the humidity goes up it doesn’t take much to create a shower or storm.  This is why from Tuesday and into the weekend the forecast holds a chance of a scattered thunderstorm in the afternoon.  

This is very typical early August weather.  The days are warm and humid and there’s a risk of a shower, but there’s a lot of sunshine as well. It’s basically great beach weather.

Eventually, highs move away, often pushed out by a cold front.  This is the case later this weekend.  

As the cold front approaches it creates a squeeze play between the exiting high and itself to bring even more humidity up from the south.

This also increases the risk of showers and storms, which peaks within 100 or so miles of the front.  

Saturday brings the greatest risk of widespread showers this week along with higher levels of moisture in the air.


A cold front approaches from the west on Saturday. NOAA

As the cold front goes by, a new area of high pressure and a new air mass replace the old one.  Then it’s typically back to the cooler and drier air for a few days.  

During some summers, the highs from Canada don’t make it this far south very often and we have heat waves, or the cold fronts get stalled and we have several days of humidity and showers.

This weekend, as the cold front approaches we’ll have to watch closely to see how fast it’s able to pass.  If the front moves slowly, it could keep showers in the forecast beyond Saturday, but for now Sunday looks great.

You can follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 01 Aug 2017 12:50:56 +0000
Perfect weather for first half of week, and whole week looks nice Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:20:28 +0000 We missed a nor’easter early in the weekend and this was followed by a stunning Sunday with low humidity and pleasantly comfortable temperatures.  This week the theme in the weather department is summer warmth and humidity, but nothing excessive.  The best part of the week is Monday to Wednesday. The reason for this is the low humidity to start the work week and the sunshine.  Humidity will be on the increase by the middle of the week and the end of the week features a chance of showers, but still a lot of sunshine.

Temperatures won’t vary too much between Tuesday and Friday, perhaps only by a degree or two.  Highs this afternoon will break 80 in most areas, but a sea breeze will likely knock temperatures back a bit this afternoon.

The reason for the nice week is an area of high pressure building in across the northeast.  As the high slips off the coast we will see a flow of warm and humid air continue for several days.

High pressure this week keeps the area mainly dry with showers not in the forecast until later Thursday. Dave Epstein

On Thursday, a cold front will approach. This front will help to lift the warm air, build clouds and bring the chance of a few showers or storms.  These don’t look to be long lasting at this stage.

Warm weather continues Friday as humidity falls a bit, but not a lot.   In other words it will still be humid, but not oppressive.  The next chance for showers after Thursday is Sunday.  The cloudiest day looks to be Saturday right now.

Eventually, later this weekend I expect another front to cross the region ushering in cooler and drier air.  The timing on this will be nailed down in the coming days.  The present timing of this front would bring more comfortably dry air back into Maine for the second half of the upcoming weekend. Enjoy the beach weather.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:55:57 +0000
This could be the best week of weather this summer Sat, 29 Jul 2017 11:59:20 +0000 There’s always a week or two during the summer that people wish they didn’t pick for their summer vacation and  those weeks where they wish they did.  The next seven days will rival any stretch of weather we’ve seen this summer for the best weather.  We are looking ahead to a period with plenty of sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures.

Dry weather will continue much of this week. NOAA Graphics

We do need rain along the coast of Maine.  Much of the shower activity has evaporated over the past month as its moved toward the Atlantic, but I won’t lament the dry ground too much.

What this is really about is great weather — and not just sorta great, either. This won’t be a week of blazing sunshine and unbearable heat where you can’t enjoy the clear skies. This is going to be a week with temperatures in the low to mid-80s much of the time, perfect for the beach, a hike, a round or two of golf or just pleasurably mowing the lawn.

Coastal Maine is forecast to have the least amount of rain over the next two weeks.

Dry weather this week may be interrupted by a shower or storm Thursday afternoon. Tropical Tidbits

Low Humidity For Several Days

A nor’easter, which is missing most of New England on Saturday, will pull down dry air from Canada as it moves out to sea. This will provide sunny days and comfortable nights for sleeping, through Wednesday.  All isn’t completely perfect.  By Thursday a front will move east and bring the chance of a few showers. It’s way to early to say if this is a mostly sunny day with an hour or two of showers or a day with a lot of clouds. I am leaning toward a brief, not major, interruption in our fine stretch of weather.

Not Much Rainfall

The models do continue to advertise a mostly dry pattern for the first couple of weeks of August.

Rip Currents An Issue

Storms out over the ocean can and often do create rip currents at our local beaches.  While Saturday’s highs will only be in the lower 70s and you might not be inclined to swim, be aware of ocean conditions.

Rip currents could be a problem Saturday. NOAA-Gray

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:56:02 +0000
The edge of a front makes for some fine-line forecasting Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:48:28 +0000 The sun finally returned on Wednesday after a couple of really cool, raw and damp days.  Now that we are into the second half of the week, it’s time to seriously look at the rest of the week and the weekend forecast.

The start of the  weekend’s forecast is a tough call.  A front is going to cross the state late today and then slow. The placement of this front and any clouds and rain along it will determine who gets dry, who gets wet and who sees the sun Saturday and Sunday.  Since you might be traveling this weekend, it’s important to know there will be very different weather conditions across New England.

With the front nearby today, look for showers  this morning and then just mainly cloudy skies.  It will feel a bit muggier as well.  Tomorrow the front pushes away far enough to yield a nice day.

How Much Sun Saturday?

Southern New England, such as the south coast of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts including Cape Cod and the islands, will see the least sun and the greatest chance of showers, but the cloud shield from this storm will likely impact southern and coastal Maine.  One model has it cloudy here on Saturday.  This is the part of the forecast that could spoil your plans to be lying out enjoying sunshine.  A shift of 50 miles either direction will impact sky conditions a lot.  Rainfall shouldn’t be an issue here either way – it’s just a question of blue or gray.

The clouds will keep parts of coastal York County in the lower 70s on Saturday, not a great beach day.

Clouds will be thickest over southern New England Saturday. WeatherBell

Across far northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont sunshine is most likely along with the warmest temperatures.  

Sunday Is The Best Day

Taking into account the latest data. I am leaning toward more clouds on Saturday and more sun on Sunday.  A cool northeast wind will keep temperatures from becoming very warm, remaining under their long-term averages for the final days of July.

Saturday will be cooler than average, especially over southernmost Maine. Tropical Tidbits

The Ensemble Forecasting Method

Without overwhelming you with a lot of meteorology, let’s look at one piece of data from the GFS model. I like to share the inner workings of how meteorologists make a forecast as I believe it allows the public to appreciate this science better.  What you are seeing below are individual rainfall forecasts of the GFS model.  Notice there are 22 squares. Squares e1 through e20 is a forecast tweaked slightly differently.  It’s like taking a recipe for cookies and changing how you mix the ingredients.   If you get the same result no matter what you do, the recipe becomes more foolproof.  If you find the slightest change in the ingredients changes the entire dish, you have less confidence in making it.  The final square is the mean eM and the first square is the original without and modifications, the control, eC.

Ensemble forecasting is an important part of meteorological prediction. WeatherBell

By changing small portions of this weather model and still getting the same result we have higher confidence in the forecast.  This is called ensemble forecasting and it is a very important part of the forecasting puzzle.  Notice how nearly all the squares have the heaviest rain (reds and orange colors) south of Cape Cod.  Since there is so much agreement between all these ensemble members there is growing confidence in the forecast.  That’s why I believe  the rain should not make it this far north.

Could The Forecast Change?

While I think we will see a blend of clouds and sunshine around Portland this weekend, there is still a storm that we need to watch.  The trend later today with all of our models will help solidify when any showers might occur and which part of the weekend is the sunniest.   You can bet I’ll be watching the ensembles very closely not only from the GFS, but from the European as well.  Next time there’s a tough forecast ask a meteorologist what the ensembles are showing; no doubt they will be quite impressed.  

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 27 Jul 2017 08:48:28 +0000
Winter in July? With high temperatures in the 60s it sure feels like it Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:41:13 +0000 If you took Monday’s weather map and didn’t show me the temperatures, you could easily fool me into thinking it was from the middle of winter.  We can go several years without seeing the atmosphere produce low pressure like this in July.

A winter-like weather map in mid-July is quite unusual. (Dave Epstein)


A double-barreled storm to our south and west, with the flow around these systems, is keeping much of New England on the near-record cool side of average. In the summer, air masses in this part of the world typically don’t have the contrast in temperature to produce these types of weather systems.  Midday temperatures were in the mid-60s in southern Maine on Monday.

Typical highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s will not be reached until later this week. NOAA


Although it is cool and cloudy, we are not looking at a lot of rain in Maine. Coastal Maine actually needs rain.

The heaviest and steadiest rain remains west and south of Maine. NOAA-Gray


The atmosphere is like a big layer cake and when it’s warm the cake’s layers are thicker.  In colder weather the layers become more compressed.

In the loop below, the map is showing how one of the layers, at around 18,000 feet, will behave in the coming days.  In our current pattern, this layer is lower in height than normal and thus coded in blue.   Notice how the blue disappears and is replaced by warmer colors as things return to more typical July weather later this week.

The atmosphere at 500 millibars or roughly 18,000 feet will undergo several changes this week. Tropical Tidbits

The good news is this abnormal pool of cool air will only stick around for a couple of days before being replaced by much warmer conditions later this week.  

If you are on vacation this week, Monday and Tuesday are definitely days to read or go shopping, leaving the beach for Wednesday and Thursday.  

The meteogram from one model shows our cool damp weather at the beginning of the week and then a warm-up at the end.   

The greatest risk of significant rain comes Friday this week. WeatherBell Analytics

Another round of showers and perhaps some downpours are likely on Friday as a cold front approaches. If this front keeps moving, we will see a nice weekend, but a slower passage will keep clouds around for Saturday.


The chilly weather may feel especially cold for New Englanders because last summer was a doozy in terms of heat and dryness.  A year ago this week, much of New England was in the middle of plenty of humidity and heat.  Even Portland reached the mid-90s.  


Beyond this week the weather looks warmer to start August. Early August can bring some very hot weather to the region, but we will need to wait a bit longer to see just how warm next month is going to be.

You can follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:56:06 +0000
For fun in the sun, Saturday looks just beachy Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:58:57 +0000 It’s been a humid week and quite warm as well.  This is, on average, the hottest period of the year and it stands to reason we’d see these warm readings.  An upper level system with showers and storms has now moved east overnight and we are seeing drier air slowly filter in from the north and west.

Friday is also another very warm and sunny day. What you will notice is the air becoming drier as the day progresses in spite of rising temperatures.  The drier air will be with us for a cooler stretch of weather ahead.  You can see the dry air arriving as the dewpoints fall below.  Later this weekend, as showers arrive, it will become more humid again, but not as bad as the past few days.

Drier air filters in Friday, lowering dewpoints bring drier air to the region.

Summery Saturday

Saturday continues to be warm, but less humid.  You should expect sunshine blended with clouds and highs will be in the 80s.  High tide, for those of you headed to the beach, occurs during the late morning.  Winds will be quite light – not great for sailing.  This is the day to head to the beach if you are  trying to choose between Saturday and Sunday.

Clouds, late day showers come back Sunday

A weather system moving in Sunday will return clouds to the area and limit the sunshine.  Just when or if the showers arrive is still a question.  Some overnight showers touch southernmost Maine.  The bulk of the morning will be dry and we could see a rain-free afternoon as well.  Showers are more likely later in the evening and overnight.  Highs will remain under 80 and some coastal towns will likely stay in the low to mid-70s with an onshore breeze.

Look for warm readings on Saturday.

Cooler air arrives Sunday with more clouds and late day showers. Dave Epstein

Final week of July weather

The final week of the month looks to be cooler than average with an unsettled period to start.  We won’t see a washout Monday or Tuesday, but there is a chance of showers.  The middle of the week looks really nice with sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures.  That nice weather will last for a few days. The weather for the final weekend of July is still too far out to accurately predict.

Follow David Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 21 Jul 2017 17:54:09 +0000
Northern lights possible Sunday night Sat, 15 Jul 2017 12:04:11 +0000 Storms are exciting and we have the possibility of being affected by a big one Sunday night.  Now before you start groaning about more lousy summer weather, this one just might be really awesome and happen with clear skies.  So what type of storm am I speaking about? It’s a solar one of course.

This week a massive solar flare, lasting more than two hours, was seen on the sun.  

 The coronal mass ejection as captured by the SOHO/LASCO C2 coronagraph.

The coronal mass ejection as captured by the SOHO/LASCO C2 coronagraph. NASA

The explosion resulted in what scientists call a coronal mass ejection or CME.  This CME is now headed for earth and has prompted a Geomagnetic Storm Watch to be issued by the Space Center part of NOAA.  A watch in this case is similar to other weather watches we have.  It means conditions are favorable for the occurrence, but it’s not a sure bet.  Predicting how the CME will spark up the aurora borealis is not a sure bet.

A moderate geomagnetic watch is posted for Sunday NASA

Kp levels are used to determine where the aurora might be seen.  If the Kp levels reach 6 and 7, that is when New England, including greater Portland, can have an opportunity to see the aurora.   

How will you know?

There are all many sources for the latest solar activity and real-time Kp levels.  Remember, we are hoping for Kp levels of 6 or higher, a 7 would be awesome and almost ensure sightings of the northern lights in  all of Maine and New Hampshire.  My personal favorites are from the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute. as well as soft serve news.  This site allows you to subscribe to text alerts for a small fee.  

Scientists are already getting excited about this CME and possible aurora.  Twitter is another good resource to check out the possibility of seeing the northern lights. I will definitely be tweeting updates Sunday night if things start looking promising. The National Weather Service tweeted Sunday morning that the best viewing possibilities for most areas would be between sundown and 2 a.m.

Twitter is a great resource to find out the latest news on the aurora borealis

Twitter is a great resource to find out the latest news on the aurora borealis

What we are hoping is for the ovation maps which show the aurora to have that green line running through the area Sunday night.  If that is the case, you’ll want to quickly get somewhere where it’s dark and look up.  Aurora tend to come in pulses, and don’t last long.  Having a view to the northern horizon will provide the best opportunity and remember, it needs to be dark.

If the aurora maps show the green area running through our area, you should look for the northern lights. Remember to find a dark area. NOAA

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:56:11 +0000
Clouds yield very little rain today with humidity on the way Saturday Fri, 07 Jul 2017 12:17:58 +0000 It was milder last night with clouds and a flow of  air from the south. This morning we are watching an area of rain over southern New England but it appears most of the rainfall will stay south of Maine. There is a flood watch posted across parts of southeastern New England but that type of rainfall won’t make it here.

The rain is caused by a warm front, the demarcation between the comfortable air from 24 hours ago and the more humid air currently in place just to our south. This boundary is the focal point for the rainfall and because of the tropical nature of the air to the south the showers could be heavy. We need rain in southern Maine but the pattern right now isn’t allowing the moisture to move far enough north.

This afternoon brings a chance of showers – mostly over inland areas and mountains – which will continue into the evening. Sunshine will be limited by clouds and it will feel rather cool along the coastline.

The short range radar for Friday has the coastline missing most of the shower activity. Weatherbell Analytics

A cold front, the leading edge of drier air, moves east Saturday. This may kick off a round of showers and storms in the afternoon or evening and some could be strong. Ahead of the front it will be quite humid but once the front leaves the region the air will dry out.

Sunday is the pick of the weekend with abundant sunshine and warm temperatures. It will be a great beach day with light winds and temperatures near 80, even at the beaches.

Monday is dry and then more frontal weather with scattered showers arrives Tuesday. The upper level configuration of the jet stream will likely keep the extreme heat away from Maine not only next week but for much of the month. This doesn’t mean no warmth, but it is increasingly likely we aren’t going to see any major heat spells for a while.

The highest chance of major heat next week is across the western part of the country. NOAA

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.



]]> 0, 07 Jul 2017 08:20:13 +0000
The dry weather’s been great, but we could use some rain Wed, 05 Jul 2017 12:40:08 +0000 The weather was quite nice for the Fourth of July, and while it can be quite hot this time of year, temperatures stayed comfortably warm. I was a bit surprised that patches of clouds made it far enough south so parts of southern Maine saw more clouds than sunshine for a few hours Tuesday afternoon. This was caused by an upper level disturbance to the north.

Temperatures will continue to be near average for a while. The sun is very strong in early July, and the intensity of it keeps the air feeling warmer than the reading on the thermometer. Humidity is low and the UV index will stay near the top of the chart today, so continue to use that sunscreen.

The variation in July is less about whether it will be warm and humid but rather a question of just how warm and humid the day-to-day will be. As I look out over the next couple of weeks, the pattern isn’t conducive to prolonged heat waves or prolonged humidity. I also don’t see any extended rain.

Starting Thursday, things will become humid for a couple of days. The humidity will build into Friday, bringing along an increased risk of showers and storms. I am hopeful for at least some significant showers, but I can’t be sure just yet. Areas of coastal Maine are quietly heading into a drought. It’s early to know if this is a short-term issue which could turn around with a few healthy doses of rain or if we are headed for burned out lawns again.

Areas in southern Maine have been drier than average for the past month. NOAA Data

The drought monitor is starting to show drier than average conditions around Portland. You may notice lawns and gardens needing water.

After the showers end, the weekend is looking quite nice with a return to lower humidity and  warm temperatures. We are rapidly approaching the warmest week of the year, so it stands to reason highs in the low to mid-80s are going to be common for a while. The chart below shows how temperatures have been this year as compared to average. The red line at the top shows the record highs and the light blue line shows the record lows. The brown shading shows average temperatures.

Temperatures are on average their highest the third week of July. NOAA Data

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0 ORCHARD BEACH, ME - JUNE 21: 5:03 am L to R, Martin McShane and his brother Jimmy McShane of East Providence Rhode Island watch as the sun rises in Old Orchard Beach on the summer solstice Wednesday, June 21, 2017. The two who are vacationing in Old Orchard Beach with family, stayed up to watch the sunrise. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick OuelletteWed, 05 Jul 2017 08:51:56 +0000
Unsettled weather for the start of the weekend with heavy rain Fri, 30 Jun 2017 19:25:39 +0000 The Fourth of July falls on a Tuesday this year, which can make the holiday weekend a four-day affair if you’re fortunate enough to take Monday off.  Whether your much-deserved break is three or four days long, the weather will be key.

The actual Fourth of July can have wide swings in weather. The term “hot as the 4th of July” is particularly apt in Portland since it was on that date in 1911 that Portland reached its all-time hottest temperature ever recorded: 103 degrees. This mark would be tied again on August 2nd 1975.  Contrast that with the coolest Fourth on record with temperatures falling into the lower 40s!

A summary of July 4th weather shows big swings in rainfall and temperatures have occurred. Dave Epstein


Earlier this week, we enjoyed a period of low humidity and comfortable temperatures.  However, the humidity has been slowly creeping up and will remain high into early Sunday before falling.  It’s this humidity and a frontal boundary stuck in the area which will help bring numerous showers to Maine and New Hampshire to start this long weekend.

Warm and humid air is stuck south of a warm front Friday afternoon. Dave Epstein

The problem is that very warm and humid air over southern New England is bumping up against cooler air to the north.  This contrast will bring at least two rounds of rain, some of it quite heavy, between Friday evening and Sunday morning.  Because of the expected rainfall, the National Weather Service has issues a flood watch for much of the area away from the coast.

Flood watches are posted for much of northern New England. Dave Epstein/NOAA Data

To the south of the warm front, in the humid air, there are a severe thunderstorm watches posted.  Some of these storms could bring strong damaging winds, hail and even a small tornado.  If you are traveling in New England this evening be aware of highly variable weather.

Day By Day Forecast

Overnight, look for rain showers and even embedded storms.  I don’t expect any severe weather in Maine as we are too far north of the warm and tropical air.  It will still feel very muggy.  Some of the rain could cause small stream flooding and street flooding as well.  This is especially true west of the foothills.

Saturday will feature a break in the showers in the morning, but a new area of rain is expected to move in during the afternoon or evening.  Again, this rain could be heavy and have some thunderstorms embedded in the main area. This continues overnight Saturday and into early Sunday.

Highs Sunday will be warmest over southern most Maine. NOAA-Gray, ME

Sunday, any morning showers will end and we can expect it to clear by the afternoon.  If the cold front moves steadily, the majority of Sunday will be very good in terms of weather.  You might even be able to head to the beach after the morning showers end.  This sets up Monday and Tuesday as the  pick days of the five-day period.   Monday and Tuesday appear to be dry and warm everywhere with sunshine and little or no risk of showers.  Humidity levels will be much lower than Friday, Saturday and Sunday and without rainfall, I would say these two days are the best for outdoor activities.


]]> 0, 05 Sep 2017 14:56:18 +0000
Low humidity starts the week, but high humidity will finish it Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:43:57 +0000 Most people look forward for weeks to their summer vacation, and whether are you are only taking one week or fortunate to have more, the weather can make or break a vacation.

Inevitably there is a week in the summer that is perfect and a week that isn’t so great for a vacation. This week is in the higher end of the scale. It won’t be 100 percent perfect, but it will be pretty nice.

The best days will be today, Wednesday and Thursday, but the other days are not washouts. A series of upper-level disturbances will bring a chance of showers in the afternoon and evening hours almost every day this week. The highest risk will be over the mountains and foothills with the lowest chances of rainfall over the coastal plane. Not everyone will see showers, but many towns will get some rain over the next 4 days.

Notice the areas of showers popping up and moving through New England. They are small, fast moving and won’t reach everyone.

Some showers will reach Maine early this week. Tropical Tidbits

Before the showers, sunshine fills the skies. Humidity levels are on the lower end of the scale, increasing briefly in the hours before any showers. Overall, this is a low humidity period and a welcome forecast for those who don’t like the sticky air of mid summer.

Temperatures will be seasonable to start this week. There won’t be any big heat and only a slow increase in humidity for Thursday.

Weather for Friday and into the weekend still is a bit murky. The models have clouds and cooler air to the north with very humid and hot air south of us Friday. Where the boundary between the two sets up will dramatically impact the weather this weekend.

Some parts of the state may end up on the warm side this weekend and could see readings into the mid-80s and lower 90s. If your town is on the cooler side that will mean more clouds and readings in the 70s to near 80. When boundaries like this are near, the chance of downpours is quite high.

As the air does become more humid, the downpours can become heavier with quick street flooding and torrential rains. These showers should not last too long, but you should be aware they are going to be in the forecast much of this week.

You can follow my updates here and on Twitter @growingwisdom.

]]> 0, 26 Jun 2017 08:43:57 +0000
Expect perfect summer weather on Sunday Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:26:27 +0000 This is our first weekend of summer, and it’s looking pretty nice. For many, this is also the first weekend the kids will be out of school, and you likely don’t want them stuck in the house. The big weather question is how quickly a front will move east on Saturday. As long as the front keeps on moving, we will see some sunshine by the second part of the day; a slower-moving front would keep clouds and the risk of showers around. The driest part of the area will be north and west of the coastline with the cloudiest conditions and highest risk of showers over the eastern half of the state.

Friday is warm and humid

A warm front pushing to our north has allowed warm and humid air back into the region. This means Friday is going to have that feeling of summer again, with high humidity and very warm temperatures. Highs will go into the 80s in the afternoon. I don’t expect a lot of sunshine, and there could be scattered showers and storms. After the morning downpours, there could still be more showers later this afternoon.

Morning showers will be followed by another chance this afternoon and evening. WeatherBell Analytics

Saturday is the unsettled day this weekend

The weather Saturday shouldn’t be a washout, but there is a risk of showers in the morning and again in the middle of the day. These could contain thunder and a downpour. The air is expected to dry out during the latter half of the afternoon. I wouldn’t cancel any plans, but know there could be showers. Humidity will be highest in the morning and then it may fall in the afternoon.

It will still be a bit humid Saturday morning before turning drier in the afternoon. NOAA

Notice the image below. This is a forecast radar. That line of red and orange is a line of predicted showers and storms in the early afternoon. It’s not very wide, so if you see one, it won’t last too long.

It will be mostly dry Saturday, with a chance of a shower in the afternoon. WeatherBell

Warm and dry Sunday

Sunday is the pick of the weekend. There is no chance of rain; there will be abundant sunshine and humidity will be quite low. High pressure takes over and keeps us in a great pattern for a nice Monday as well.

It will be dry, warm and sunny on Sunday. NOAA

If you are headed to the beach, tides will be high around noon at most beaches, but check your local tide table for the exact time. There is still no major prolonged heat or humidity in sight as we finish the final week of June.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom.

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First day of astronomical summer’s here, and you can thank the tilt for that Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:57:05 +0000 Summer is finally here. Early Wednesday morning, at 12:24 a.m. the summer solstice arrived, marking the time the sun’s rays are  directly overhead at the most northern part of the planet for the year.  Because our planet revolves around the sun and is tilted at angle, we experience the seasons.   The amount of light reaching the Earth changes most dramatically at the poles and the least amount at the Equator, where there is generally 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light.

Meteorologists start their summer on June 1st.  We use the warmest 90 days to mark the summer season. Astronomical summer begins on June 21st, about three weeks later.   This is what most of you consider summer as well.

The largest gap between sunrise and sunset occurs on the summer solstice. Technically, this year, the largest gap occurred on June 20th.  We will lose just under a second of daylight Wednesday as compared to Tuesday.  This is because the solstice occurred so early on the 21st.

The greatest amount of daylight occurs on the summer solstice. Time and Date

The biggest misconception about the first day of summer is that it’s when the latest sunsets and earliest sunrises occur. But because of the way the Earth is shaped, its elliptical rotation and time zones, the earliest sunrise in the Portland area was back on June 14 and the latest sunset will be June 26.  What is also true about the first day of summer is that the sun is at its highest point in the sky.   Notice the angle of the sun at solar noon will start to decline late this week as we are now past the summer solstice.

The term ‘solstice’ comes from the Latin “solstitium,” meaning the stopping or standing still of the sun, and marks the first day of astronomical summer.  For me, the journey toward the “longest day of the year” has always been somewhat anticlimactic.  We spend six months watching the amount of daylight increase and when it finally arrives and we turn the corner toward less light, the kids are still in school and July 4th is still two weeks away.

Northern Maine has more daylight this time of year than in the south, it flips after the first day of autumn.

One thing that won’t reach a peak for a while are the temperatures.  Even though the amount of daylight reached its maximum Tuesday, the planet takes nearly five weeks to respond to all this added solar radiation. Not until the third week in July will our temperatures reach their maximums for the year.  That doesn’t mean it will be our hottest week, but on average it is.

The average maximum yearly temperatures are reached about a month after the summer solstice.

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

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What’s causing the extreme heat in the Southwest? Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:05:14 +0000 A couple of weeks ago, parts of interior Maine had a heat wave and heat advisories were issued. In Portland we missed an official heat wave by just a degree. Here in New England, advisories and warnings for heat are not very common and temperatures must reach certain heights before they go into effect. When temperatures will be at least 95 for two or more days, an advisory is issued. If it’s going to feel 105 or higher, an excessive heat warning is put out to the public. The threshold for a heat advisory was actually lowered this year because here in New England, heat affects us differently from those in Phoenix or Las Vegas.

Advisories and warnings for heat, cold, ice and snow are issued under different scenarios across the country because these cautionary statements are supposed to help the public be alerted to unusual conditions. It would be foolish to issue a cold advisory in Maine for temperatures in the 20s in January, but pretty important in, say, Miami.  

With this is mind as a benchmark, consider the excessive heat warnings for the southwestern part of the country today.

Tuesday was amazingly hot across the west. From Denver to Phoenix, temperatures were at or near records and Las Vegas tied its hottest day ever at any time of the year. That’s like Portland hitting 103!

Heat of this magnitude is very unusual, even in areas accustomed to triple-digit readings. The all-time high in Phoenix is 122 degrees. When you have temperatures nearing that all-time mark, it’s similar to us having temperatures of 101 here in Portland, just shy of our all-time record of 103, set back on Aug. 2, 1975.

It’s been so hot that flights were delayed in Phoenix. It’s actually harder to take off in the extreme heat because the air becomes less dense, providing less lift for the wings. You may remember this was also a concern in Iraq during the war and one reason planes took off at night, when it was cooler.

We don’t ever see this type of heat in New England. NOAA-Phoenix

Unlike our heat waves, which are usually part of high humidity, the air out in the desert is very dry. Evaporation, which cools the body, would be momentarily effective if you got out of a pool in Arizona today. The water would quickly disappear off your body, briefly cooling you. Running a fan through wet material can actually act like an air conditioner when the humidity is this low!


Still near 90 at 5 a.m. in Phoenix NAA

Temperatures, even in the dry air. are having trouble falling. As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, it was still near 90 in Phoenix. That doesn’t give very much relief and makes reaching the record high today much more likely.

By the way, it’s not just Arizona that is having a heat wave. If you are planning on heading to California, inland areas are experiencing very high temperatures the rest of this week.

Why so hot?

Heat waves are caused by high pressure being stuck in a certain position. High pressure is associated with sinking air and as air sinks from above, it warms up. Think about climbing down from a high mountain; temperatures would get higher on the way down. When high pressure sits over an area for a long time and the air can continually sink, it becomes warmer and drier. This is what happened here last summer with the drought and why we had so much sunshine. It’s also why California had a multi-year drought, as high pressure just would not relinquish its grip out there for several years. Now, it’s the same thing going on across the southwest this week.  

A heat dome is created in the summer when high pressure sits in one area for an extended time. NOAA

Follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom

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Scattered severe storms arrive in Maine, threat continues Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:30:30 +0000 UPDATE

As of mid-afternoon, a severe thunderstorm watch was posted for much of southern and central Maine.  Already there have been scattered severe storms.  Some of these storms could contain hail, damaging winds and even small spin-up-type tornadoes.

The threat of severe weather continues into the evening Monday. NOAA Data

As of 2:30 p.m., most of the storms are west of the coastline, but could pop up anywhere this afternoon and evening.

Storms continue to cross the region this afternoon. NOAA

You might have heard of the potential for severe weather late today and early Tuesday. While this is certainly the case, the greatest risk is over western Maine, not in Greater Portland or coastal areas. This doesn’t mean we can’t see severe weather locally, but the chances are just far greater farther west.

The highest risk of severe weather Monday is over interior southern New England. NOAA

Fog and clouds have plagued the coastline much of the weekend and continued to be an issue Monday morning. As the sun breaks through, this heats the atmosphere, making it more conducive for storms. I circled the areas already showing signs of thunderstorm development early Monday.

Showers were showing up early Monday over New York. NOAA

The air has a lot of humidity in it today and this means any rain that falls can be heavy. This is a tropical air mass and this type of air allows a lot of water to fall from the sky in a short period of time.

There is a flash-flood watch posted for the western parts of New England. Some rainfall rates could exceed 2 inches per hour today. This type of rain quickly floods roads and low-lying areas.  

Heavy rain could bring some flash flooding over western Maine. NOAA

I expect most of the rain to occur east of a line from Sanford to Augusta this evening and overnight. That said, I can’t rule out a shower this afternoon ahead of the main area. When the sun makes an appearance, temperatures will reach into the 80s again.

Storms will weaken as they approach the coastline.

After the rain, drier air will return to the region. Dew points, in the 60s to low 70s today, will fall to the lower 60s and eventually 50s by Wednesday. This will feel a lot better than the very sticky air present over us right now.

Drier air will arrive late Tuesday and Wednesday. WeatherBell

Once a front pushes east, drier air will move into New England.

The weather overall continues to be rather unsettled and changing rapidly. After a dry couple of days Wednesday and Thursday, humidity and a chance of showers arrive again Friday. If this system keeps moving, we should clear out and see a nice weekend.

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Cloudy and cool before humidity and warmth return later this weekend Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:13:49 +0000 We are about to enter a period of moderate to high humidity along with a chance of showers, but getting there brings about a cool and damp day Friday.

Sail Boston arrives this weekend and some of you might be headed south to see the Parade of Sail. I foresee enough dry hours for you to enjoy the tall ships this weekend in Boston.  Temperatures will be coolest Friday with highs only in the mid- to upper 60s, but they are going to return to hot later this weekend.  Sunday’s highs could approach 90 with enough sun in Boston.

Showers Arrive Friday

Friday will be a cool day ahead of a warm front with temperatures only in the lower 60s.  Skies, which have been picture-perfect blue the past couple of days, return to cloudy along with the risk of showers.  The forecast radar has showers arriving in the morning, but the highest odds of rainfall occur after 9 a.m.  

Showers are possible Friday, especially later in the day. Weather Bell.

Outdoor activities may need to be moved indoors Friday.  Highs will only be around 60, not a very June-like feel to the day.  The flow of air off the water will keep it damp and you should not expect any sunshine.

Muggy With Light Winds Saturday

Saturday is the Parade of Sail in Boston with the tall ships traveling around the harbor and eventually ending up at their assigned berths.  Early in the morning is the time of highest risk for any precipitation. If you are heading out early to get a good viewing spot, be aware there might be sprinkles. As the morning progresses look for just a lot of clouds, more humidity and warm, but not hot, temperatures in the mid-70s. Winds are going to be light, which would be an issue if the ships didn’t have other power besides sails.  

Winds will be light on Saturday Weather Bell

Here in Maine the forecast is similar.  Look for a few morning showers, an increase in humidity and temperatures nearing 70 or slightly higher.  Coastal areas will likely struggle to get out of the 60s as the warm front remains just south of Maine.

Very Warm End To The Weekend

Sunday is a summer forecast.  There will be high humidity and warm temperatures and I am forecasting temperatures to rise into the lower 80s.  Some mid-80s or upper 80s are possible with enough breaks of  sunshine.  Interior York, Cumberland and Oxford counties will be the warmest. It will feel hot with the very strong June sun angle.  This is the time of year you can easily get burned in well under an hour. Be sure to take sunscreen and a hat as you move about.   If you don’t like the humidity you’ll need to wait until sometime Tuesday for a break.  In other words, we have about a four- to five-day period of mugginess ahead.

Temperatures return to the 80s on Sunday in many areas. Dave Epstein


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Expect heat and humidity through Tuesday before temps cool Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:41:42 +0000 The high in Portland reached 91 degrees Sunday, about 15 degrees above the long-term average and the second time we’ve been at 90 degrees or hotter this year. You might have already forgotten, but we had our first run into the 90s in the middle of May when some inland areas saw two days of 90-degree weather.

Today’s temperatures will easily reach the 90s inland and for some coastal towns, with a high likelihood of eclipsing Sunday’s temperatures by a degree or two.

Temperatures this morning were already well into the 80s to near 90 Dave Epstein

Heat and humidity are most often brought to New England by way of a Bermuda high pressure system off the southeast coast. These weather systems act as heat pumps, throwing hot, humid and often poor-quality air into much of New England.

High pressure of the southeast coast brings warm and humid weather to Maine

There is an air quality alert again today along the coastline. This means if you are someone who suffers from respiratory issues you shouldn’t exert yourself too much. Even healthy individuals can feel the effects of the poor air as it makes it just a bit harder to breathe, especially when exercising.

In addition to the heat, the air isn’t very clean to start this week.

Tomorrow a cold front will start moving south from eastern Canada and Maine. This will put an end to the heat and humidity for the rest of the week. If Portland reaches 90 before the front passes Tuesday (and we hit 90 today), it would be an official heat wave. But I think the chances are only 1 in 10 that the Jetport does hit 90 Tuesday.

Cooler air will push south Tuesday night and early Wednesday. The loop below shows the falling temperatures throughout Tuesday night, setting us up for a much more comfortable Wednesday with low humidity.

Cooler air arrives later Tuesday as a cold front passes.

I don’t see much in the way of rain despite the transition to cooler air. If you’ve shut off your irrigation system, as I have, it’s probably time to flip the switch back to on. Also, don’t forget to water those container plants. This heat dries them out quickly.

The weather may turn a bit damp heading into the weekend, but the details on any shower activity will need to wait a few days. I don’t see any more chances of heat waves for a while.

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