As September Heat Rises, Hydration and Swimming Safety Are Top Concerns

LKS_MATTS_MEMO (94)A hot stretch is unfolding for New England, atypical for early September but certainly not unheard of.  In fact, early September heat like this has not only been done before, but exceeded – Boston, for instance, is likely to fall shy of records each day this week, even as temperatures near or exceed 90 degrees.  Nonetheless, the humidity of dew point temperatures climbing through the 60s to near 70 coupled with afternoon high temperatures 85 to 90 at the coast where a sea breeze kicks up and 90+ inland, will combine for heat index values – “feels like temperatures” – in the lower to middle 90s most of this week.  For this reason, hydration is a big key for New Englanders, not only for those who will work and play outdoors, but also for kids and teachers in classrooms devoid of air conditioning, then in some cases, out onto the playing field for sports afterschool.  A conversation with kids also may not be a bad idea regarding favorite swimming spots that, post Labor Day, no longer are protected by lifeguards.  This becomes especially pertinent at our ocean-facing beaches, where a two to three foot swell isn’t that big, but with an 11-13 second period, each wave emanating from an offshore storm packs enough power for rip currents Tuesday and, in a few spots, into Wednesday.  Sea breezes that cap warming at the coast Tuesday and Wednesday will be weaker Thursday and Friday, so our overall heat and humidity for New England will tend to peak those two days, with isolated afternoon to evening thunder possible either day.  A slow-moving cold front approaches this weekend, increasing the number of showers and thunderstorms for scattered Saturday storms, then more numerous storms Sunday with the passage of the cold front.  At this point, it’s early to pin down any spots of heavy rain or potential severe weather, though that is a possibility, especially in Northern and Western New England where showers and thunder Friday and Saturday will be a bit more numerous, then perhaps for much of New England Sunday.  Behind the cold front, next week’s brand new air makes the second half of the exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast look (and feel!) much different than the first half, with high temperatures near or cooler than normal!  There are signs a southerly wind may kick up again at the end of next week into next weekend, which would briefly open the door to the Tropical Atlantic and any storms off the Bahamas – it looks like there will be a storm in the Western Atlantic at that point and likely it will be a hurricane, but the timing and placement, at this very early juncture, isn’t one that has us overly concerned…just aware and carefully watching in case the pattern timing should change.

Storms, Surf and Rip Currents To Impact New England at Midweek

LKS_FRONTS_BOSDMA - 2023-08-29T081039.184 LKS_FRONTS_BOSDMA - 2023-08-29T081039.184With all eyes on the tropics and particularly Hurricane Idalia, barreling toward Florida, it’s easy to lose sight on the weather here at home – but our First Alert Team has issued a First Alert for Wednesday, and we’re ready for dangerous rip currents at some New England beaches in the days ahead.  The first impactful weather player is Hurricane Franklin: not as glamorous as Idalia given the lack of direct strike on any land, but this Category 4 beast is tracking between Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast and will miss New England by hundreds of miles to the southeast Wednesday, but will continue throwing swell across the Western Atlantic.  Waves increase to four feet by Tuesday’s end at the South Coast with a period of 13-14 seconds, and the waves will continue to increase to six to ten feet by Wednesday, with these powerful waves creating both high surf and dangerous rip currents.  Although eastern beaches will see lesser magnitude, the rip current danger exists there, as well.  That said, the beach weather isn’t the type that will draw many folks out in the next couple of days anyway.  As moisture feeds northward toward New England, more clouds than sun dominate the sky Tuesday with occasional showers on the Cape and Islands, and at least isolated showers will expand north into Southern New England late Tuesday afternoon into the evening.  Overnight Tuesday night, showers will increase in coverage and humidity will continue to steadily rise, leading to a peak in both humidity and showers on Wednesday.  In fact, latest indications are we may have just enough energy in the atmosphere – and just enough wind – to create a few locally strong to damaging storms Wednesday around midday to early afternoon, so our weather team has hoisted a First Alert to keep One and All aware of the risk of lightning, locally heavy rain and isolated damaging wind.  By Wednesday evening, storms will not only have waned in intensity, but mostly will be few and far between as drier air begins an arrival on a northwest wind and by Thursday, dew point temperatures – the measure of the amount of moisture in the air – will have made a 24 hour drop of about 20 degrees, from the upper 60s to the upper 40s!  This is exceptionally dry, fresh and comfortable air to end the week and will come complete with sunshine, though it will lead to cool overnights Thursday night, in particular, with a few North Country deep valleys possibly dipping into the upper 30s!  Temperatures will steadily rebound over the holiday weekend, returning to daytime highs in the 80s by Sunday and Labor Day, all of it under sunshine and all of it with comfortable humidity levels.  Even the chance of an isolated storm on Labor Day has dwindled to the point we’ve removed it from the 10-day forecast, leaving a dry stretch all the way until the end of next week, great for so many outdoor projects that have been delayed due to the rainy weather this summer – from painting to haying to outdoor recreation.  Of course, Idalia continues to be a major story for Florida and the Southeast U.S., with landfall Wednesday morning as a major, Category 3 hurricane expected in the Big Bend area of the northwest Florida coast, posing a significant hazard from wind and storm surge, while six to ten inches of rain is forecast to fall across a large swath of the Southeastern U.S.