Cold weather in the Midwest this week is part of the reason why we have so much rain in the forecast for the next 48 hours here in New England. The jet stream is taking quite the dip across the center of the United States with the return flow up the coastline. This pattern is similar to what we saw in January, but in July when cities have a temperature 20 degrees below normal; it’s still in the mid 60s, not 10 below zero.

During a more typical week in July the contrast in moisture and temperature across the country isn’t very dramatic. This is one of the reasons why the jet stream is normally so weak in the summer. Temperature differences help build a strong jet stream and without the contrast the summer jet stream is quite feeble in this area. The map below shows the jet stream early Tuesday.

The winds at 30,000 are blowing over 100 knots. This is more typical for any other season, but not summer. These strong winds will help bring lots of moisture north.

jet stream tuesday

There are flood watches up for much of New England overnight and these are expected to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday in some cases. Flooding comes in all different forms and this watch is mostly for urban street flooding and also some smaller streams.

How much rain are we expecting? As I write this some areas have not seen any rain, while others, especially in the mountains have received over a quarter of an inch. The map below is one models prediction for rainfall into Wednesday evening. One thing does jump out at me on this map. Look over central/western Maine.

rainfall through Wed evening

The model shows pockets of heavy rain, up to 6 inches in some places and this means that the potential for some extreme amounts of rain is possible. This is why the flood watches are posted as well. Models in these situations can predict heavy amounts of rain pretty well, but do a poor job with regard to the exact location of the heavy rainfall.

The flood watch is not posted for the coastline as I write this, if the trend brings the heavier rain to the coast, this could change. I’ll be updating the forecast here and on Twitter as necessary the next few days. Find me on Twitter @growingwisdom

flood watchnnw

It’s not going to rain the entire time between now and Wednesday evening. Our best chance for showers and storms is very late tonight into early Tuesday morning then again later in the afternoon and again during the first half of Wednesday. At times it’s going to rain so hard, if you are driving you may have to pull off to the side of the road. Then there will be several hours of dry weather between the rain. The one constant the next two days will be the humidity which is going to be oppressive. Temperatures won’t be overly hot due to the lack of sunshine, but all that moisture in the air is going to make it quite difficult to sleep at night without air conditioning.

I expect a drying trend Wednesday evening into Thursday when the weather turns much better, drier and more typical of July. The weekend looks good, with a chance Sunday is not as nice as Saturday, but we have plenty of time to refine that part of the forecast.