With the expansion of the extreme drought classification for the entire Boston Metropolitan area through the Merrimack Valley into Manchester, NH, we've reached a point where some groundwater wells are running dry, and both short and long term impacts to groundwater and crops are unavoidable. As such, it's important that we all conserve in the drought area, whether mandatory water restrictions have been ordered or not, as no substantial rain is in the forecast, save for a possible line of rain and thunder Sunday evening and night. Until then, we may see a Connecticut shower Friday afternoon, a Western New England shower Saturday afternoon, but otherwise sun and clouds with highs in the 80s - great for weekend plans just not for the rain tally. Sunday brings a southeast wind that will increase humidity for one and all, so much that we see stubborn clouds and drizzle at the Mid-Maine coast with highs only in the 70s, while the rest of New England reaches the 80s once more. Sunday evening and night a cold front approaches from the west, sending a line of rain and thunder from west to east across New England, and though the rain may linger into Monday morning, this system keeps moving and gives way to very dry and comfortable air for the remainder of next week, until perhaps a Friday or Saturday afternoon storm next weekend...the reason we're not overly optimistic on any meaningful rainfall next week.
After one day of incredible heat Thursday, and two individuals struck by lightning in Connecticut, we're expecting a repeat of weather Friday, as high temperatures will reach the 90s with heat index values - the combined impact of heat and high humidity - making it feel more like 100-105° in most of Central and Southern New England this afternoon.
Yesterday's high temperatures were impressive - here's a list of highest temperatures by state with some reference cities, as well:
- Lawrence, MA, was the hottest spot in the Commonwealth at 98° (Boston was 96°)
- Concord, NH, hit 98° (Manchester was 97°)
- Burlington, VT, hit a record high of 96°
- Fryeburg, ME, hit 96° (Portland was 90°)
- Hartford, CT, hit 96° downtown, and 92° at the official climate site at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks
- Providence, RI, hit 93°
Friday is expected to bring similar high temperatures, but the heat index over 100° is the cause for concern regarding impact to the body. Remember:
- Drink water
- Limit exertion
- Seek cooling
- Wear lightweight and light colored clothing
- Check on others who may not have air conditioning (or for whom the air conditioning may have broken unexpectedly)
- Remember car maintenance - especially checking tire pressure to avoid blowouts and flats
Yesterday we watched closely for storms that developed, mostly south of the Massachusetts Turnpike and also far north - today, Friday, we will keep an eye on the radar for all of New England, with scattered showers and embedded thunder possible into early afternoon in the North, and more likely strong thunder this afternoon into early evening in Southern New England. Feeding off available heat and humidity, storms in Southern New England will grow strong for some, producing locally damaging wind and hail to warrant some severe thunderstorm warnings...but please remember, heavy rain and lightning are just as big of concerns for us. "When thunder roars, go indoors."
Finally, a Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of Vermont, all the way through the weekend. The concern here is not one limited just to the Green Mountain State - in fact, Thursday's storms produced flash flooding in the drought-stricken town of Glastonbury, CT, when over three inches of rain fell in less than two hours. While the ground may be parched, too much rain too quickly results in rapid runoff and flooding, so please keep that in mind and use caution where heavy rain falls, in Vermont and otherwise.
For what it's worth, we're expecting VERY different conditions on Saturday for most of Eastern New England, as cool air seeps southward from Eastern Canada, keeping Maine around 70° for a Saturday high, and only around 80 in Eastern Massachusetts with 80s farther inland - though still 90s in Western MA and Connecticut. Cooler temperatures will limit the threat of thunder Saturday in Eastern New England, though some scattered storms are still likely deep inland, then heat, humidity and scattered storms return Sunday.