New England remains in a repetitive weather pattern for the last half of the week, with overnight and morning stretches of clouds and fog breaking for a blend of sun and clouds with isolated to widely scattered sprinkles and light showers popping up during the middays and afternoons as temperatures rebound into the 70s. This pattern holds through Friday, when, yet again, pockets of clouds will start the day but sun will emerge and some inland communities will touch 80° by afternoon. The pattern of scattered sprinkles and showers will end Saturday, as a stubborn and large storm center that’s been stalled southeast of New England nudges east and allows a change in the jet stream winds aloft – the fast river of air, high in the sky, that steers storms and separates cool air to the north from warm to the south. With the change in the jet stream will come a sea change of air – new, warm, humid air arrives Saturday with high temperatures boosted into the 80s regionwide with some inland communities touching 90 in the afternoon as a sea breeze kicks up at the coast after our beaches reach the 80s. Sunday looks similar, with a continued increase in humidity but no sufficient trigger for thunderstorms in most of New England, except in the mountains of Northern New England where an isolated Sunday afternoon storm may pop up from “differential heating” – a difference in temperature from mountaintop to valley that can serve to initiate isolated storms. Monday brings a more widespread storm instigator: a cold front crossing New England from northwest to southeast that will be slow enough for most of the six-state region to experience another very warm and humid day, but prompting a number of showers, downpours and thunderstorms. Behind the cold front, less humid and cooler air sets up for Tuesday, when an early shower can’t be ruled out but the trend should be toward drying and fair weather through the middle and end of next week, when heat and humidity will start a return to New England. The start of the July Fourth holiday weekend is on the 10-day forecast and right now our First Alert Team expects the weekend to start with temperatures in the 80s, humidity and a chance of thunderstorms, but we’ll continue to roll out the rest of the holiday weekend in the two days ahead.
Although some showers fell in the Western half of New England Wednesday morning, Eastern New England started with clouds for many and sun near the coast. With an onshore wind, it’s a bit usual to have the driest air near the coast, but a slow-moving, large upper atmosphere storm center swirling southeast of New England has captured some dry air and carried it west into New England, caught in the counter-clockwise flow of air around the storm. As a result, clouds will persist in Western New England Wednesday but will give way to increasing sun in Eastern New England, with a few showers in the morning diminishing for the afternoon, but an onshore wind meaning high temperatures only around 70 near the coast and 70-75° - cooler than recent days – inland. Variable clouds Wednesday night into Thursday will mean while a few showers crop up from time to time, particularly toward midday and afternoon, no organized slug of rain is expected to develop. Limited organization to rain has really been the trend of the forecast over the last couple of days – from days out, it looked like the storm southeast of New England would throw at least one or two slugs of rain over New England for the end of the week, but as the storm positions itself and pulls in chunks of drier air, the forecast undoubtedly has taken on a tone of occasional showers instead. This time of the year, with the strongest sun angle, that also makes a difference on temperature – if you can get breaks of sun to emerge, temperatures can easily nudge into the 70s. Deep heat has been building in the nation’s midsection while New England has stayed cooler thanks to the nearby storm inducing a northerly wind flow through a deep layer of the sky, but as the storm finally shifts east, the window will open for a warmer, southwest wind into New England that will carry both heat and humidity into the Northeast US this weekend. High temperatures both weekend days should climb at least into the 80s, with 90s likely for some inland while sea breezes may kick up each afternoon along the coast. Right now, any chance for thunderstorms looks limited until a slow-moving cold front arrives Monday with showers and thunder, likely to squash the humidity for a few days heading into the middle of next week but not carrying much cool air, with seasonable temperatures lasting through next week and deeper summer warmth attempting a comeback by week’s end.
The U.S. Open has arrived to New England with all eyes of the golf world on The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts! June in New England always begs the question of whether the weather will cooperate with outdoor plans, and this weekend is no exception. The simple answer: for the most part the weather will cooperate. The forecast actually runs a higher risk of inaccuracy than usual heading into the Thursday and Friday timeframe to kick off the tournament play – thunderstorms the last few days where our weather is coming from in the Great Lakes, Midwest and Upper Ohio Valley have been fickle for forecasters, erupting hours ahead of schedule for some, and missing locations by a wide margin for others. The reason for this decrease in predictability to our west has hinged on the trigger for thunderstorm development: disturbances aloft interacting with a steady flow of increasingly warm and humid air on the northern periphery of a large dome of hot weather across the heart of the Lower 48. Thursday and Friday, New Enlgand will find ourselves on that northern fringe, meaning our chance of showers and thunder increases overall, but now we need to answer the question of which disturbances will trigger showers and thunder, and we’ll hope for better reliability than has been observed to our west! The first opportunity for showers expands from Western New England Wednesday evening and night to Central and Eastern New England Thursday morning, including Brookline and The Country Club with a chance of showers the first half of Thursday. Likely to lack the energy needed for thunderstorm development, these showers should be relatively light and scattered in nature, coming to a close before lunch and leaving behind an afternoon of sun breaking through clouds and temperatures in the 70s. Thursday afternoon, thunderstorms will develop in Upstate New York and migrate east Thursday night at the same time deeper humidity is building into New England – a great combination to keep downpours and thunderstorms going, meaning the chance of overnight Thursday night storms is elevated for most of Southern New England, but the timing is such that most of the storms should be gone by early Friday morning. Nonetheless, the job of delivering humidity to The Country Club will be complete, meaning Friday brings steamy humidity with temperatures nearing 90 degrees on the golf course before an approaching cold front results in towering clouds Friday afternoon that will develop into scattered downpours, then thunderheads, Friday middle to late afternoon into evening. As with any thunderstorm event, the exact placement will be critical, but there’s no question the chance of thunder is elevated later in the day. The approaching cold front will swing through the Boston area Friday night, bringing a return to comfortable air for the weekend, which means Saturday and Sunday’s forecast looks great for golf, overall – highs in the 70s and lower humidity. The only trick to the weekend setup is the jet stream level energy – high in the sky, several thousand feet above our heads – will still be left overhead and this will encourage building, puffy, fair weather “cumulus” clouds Saturday afternoon that very well may yield a few scattered light showers – a 20-30% chance of these over the Country Club, via our exclusive NBC Forecast System. Any Saturday afternoon showers would be scattered and unlikely to have a significant or prolonged impact on golf, and by Sunday the shower chance drops further as the energy aloft moves away from New England and pleasant air continues.
An absolutely stunning midweek is unfolding for New England, featuring a breathtaking combination of sunshine, warmth and low humidity Tuesday and Wednesday. The only spot in New England that may see a shower or two crop up Tuesday afternoon to early evening is the far North Country, near the Canadian border and especially Northern Maine, but the rest of the region enjoys a light breeze trending toward an afternoon sea breeze at the coast and dry conditions. Another comfortable night Tuesday night gives way to a slightly more pronounced wind Wednesday, blowing from the northeast, across our ocean which now features water temperatures in the 60s, but still is cool enough to ensure Eastern New England will be cooler than Tuesday’s highs, in the 70s rather than 80s. Meanwhile, outside the Northeastern U.S., heat and humidity is the story for so much of the country, with daytime highs in the 90s expanding and highs not only touching the century mark in the coming days across the Southern Plains and Southwest, but perhaps even from St. Louis to Chicago. There have been recurring thunderstorm clusters on the northern periphery of the hot and humid air, through the Northern Plains and Midwest, and eventually that increased chance of showers and thunderstorms will arrive to New England, ahead of and with an influx of heat and humidity set to arrive Friday. The first round of showers and thunder probably will organize overnight Thursday night, on the cusp of the new, summer air, and as temperature reach the 80s Friday with mounting humidity, chances are good a round of thunderstorms will fire up from northwest to southeast during the day and into the evening, for the most unsettled day of the U.S. Open golf forecast in Brookline, MA. The slow-moving cold front instigating storms Friday should be gone from New England by Saturday, lowering both the temperature and humidity, but the atmospheric energy aloft driving the cold front will linger, meaning several puffy cumulus clouds will develop and eventually yield some scattered Saturday afternoon showers, especially the farther north one is. The chance of a repeat performance of scattered afternoon showers Sunday is steadily decreasing but remains at about 20% - either way, right now neither weekend day looks to be a rainy one at all. Great weather is expected through at least early next week with high temperatures generally in the 70s and 80s and a low chance of showers until week’s end in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
If you’ve been suffering from pollen allergies and the symptoms feel never-ending, some of it certainly is thanks to the recent dry conditions we’ve experienced – rain tends to cleanse pollen, whereas days of dry wind simply blow it around, keeping the pollen count high to very high. With Boston’s 90-day rainfall total now more than four inches below normal, pushing the Boston Metropolitan Area and surrounding communities all the way into Providence and Hartford into Moderate Drought classification, this certainly has lowered our ground water table, but that lack of rainy days has also resulted in long stretches of consecutive days of high pollen count. This weather setup is the driving force behind the very difficult pollen season, but it doesn’t stop there. Over the last three decades, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, our pollen season has extended – starting as much as 20 days earlier than it used to, with a duration of eight days longer, and this is owing to a rising temperature in a changing climate. This longer pollen season generates more pollen, too – some 20% more pollen than three decades ago. The extending pollen season may still have a long way to go: if warming of global temperatures continues at its projected rate, a recent University of Michigan study designed to predict changes in the pollen season suggests the season could start as much as 40 days earlier, and extend another 20 days longer than it currently does, over the next century. Indications are the intensity of pollen at its peak concentration may not stay as high when the season lengthens, but the impact, of course, is spread over many more days – put more plainly: pollen allergy sufferers used to get hit hard but get it over with, now it’s more of a drawn out battle that means more total pollen, stretched over a longer period of days. The impacts of this extended pollen season have yet to be fully understood, but certainly pollen allergy sufferers are aware of the respiratory and sinus impact when the immune system mistakenly identifies pollen as a danger and raises levels of histamine in response. There is some good news to share: we’ve entered the final stage of the tree pollen season with the yellow dust of pine and the continued stream of oak pollen ready to subside in the next week or two, and with rain in our First Alert Forecast Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, this should mean a low pollen count on all three of those days in our 10-day forecast.
The first weekday of each month means our First Alert monthly forecast on the morning show. Some months, the forecast seems straight-forward…this month, that isn’t the case. What does seem likely is for a large pool of cool air through a deep layer of the atmosphere – both at the surface and aloft – to be lodged over the Great Lakes and Southern Canada to James Bay. The cool air will pool as a result of a persistent trough, or dip, in the jet stream winds aloft. Keeping in mind the jet stream is a fast river of air, high in the sky, that not only steers storms but also separates warm air to the south from cool air to the north, a large trough in the jet stream implies a southward dip of cool air. Here in New England, we’re likely to be on the eastern periphery of the that jet stream trough for much of June, which makes the temperature forecast tricky, but there are actually two ways we could see a cooler-than-normal June, which is a big part of why we’ve leaned near or slightly cooler than normal in our forecast for the month. One mechanism by which we’d see cool air is if enough of the cool air from the west breaks away from the trough and moves into New England…but the second source of cool air in June is the ocean. Our ocean water near-shore is still only in the 50s to near 60 degrees to start the month and while the water will gradually warm over the month, the Gulf of Maine to Nova Scotia still will house water temperatures only in the 40s. So…if high pressure, or fair weather, develops east of New England – quite possible if cool air and storminess tracks to our west, this could encourage frequent incursions of easterly and northeasterly wind, much like we’re seeing in the first days of June as of this writing. This flow of air across a cool ocean would be another contributor to cool weather, particularly in Eastern New England.
Heading into the warm summer months, precipitation tends to be higher-than-normal under and near cool pools of air like the trough that will set up over the Great Lakes this month. The reason for increased rainfall is the presence of cold air high in the sky in the jet stream trough, clashing with milder air at ground level to create more frequent showers and thunderstorms. This setup makes the Great Lakes ground-zero for a wetter than normal June, which would put us just outside the focus for heaviest rainfall. That said, disturbances caught in the jet stream wind aloft and ejecting out of the base of that trough would have opportunities to create swaths of rain in New England, as well as showers and thunderstorms in instances where milder air will be in place, all arguing for wetter conditions. That said, June isn’t a particularly dry month for New England, with average rainfall just shy of four inches, so this setup argues for a near-normal month of rainfall.
Putting all of this together, it seems New England is set for a slightly cooler than normal month, overall, and near-normal precipitation. That said, I’ll be interested to see what nature has in store in the balancing act described above!
Many New Englanders consider Memorial Day weekend to be the unofficial start of summer – the weather isn’t always eager to oblige, but this year, the 10-day forecast during and after Memorial Day weekend does look more like summer than spring. Thursday clouds have been thin enough for sun to shine through them at times, and while the clouds will be variable through the day, temperatures will still rise to the 70s inland and 60s along the coast with a southerly to southeast wind gradually increasing, particularly during the afternoon. Clouds will thicken overnight Thursday night as an envelope of warmth and humidity around a sprawling storm system over the Midwest moves into the Northeast U.S., touching off a few sprinkles and light showers in Southern New England by dawn Friday, and continuing to produce just a few isolated to widely scattered sprinkles and light showers over the course of Friday, throughout New England, with a noticeable increase in humidity. To the west, thunderstorms will fire in Upstate New York Friday afternoon and evening, drifting east to deliver rain overnight Friday night from west to east in New England, lasting as showers and perhaps some lingering embedded downpours in eastern New England Saturday morning, departing the Cape last around late morning. Not long after, a slow cold front crossing New England from the northwest will touch off renewed showers, downpours and embedded thunder in Northern and Western New England that will recur, off and on, through much of the day while slowly expanding southeast into interior Central and Southern New England Saturday afternoon, perhaps encroaching on the coast by late day and evening. The Saturday weather story we’re left with is an unsettled one in Northern and Western New England, but a humid one with only periods of showers elsewhere. The cold front will complete its passage through New England Saturday night, decreasing humidity and nearly wiping out the shower chance entirely for Sunday and Memorial Day, with high temperatures in the 70s to lower 80s. A reminder for those into water sports that our ocean and lake water is still cold, with hypothermia a danger for those who fall in or are submerged, so you want to dress for the water temperature, NOT the air temperature. Next week should feature a number of days with afternoon highs in the 80s for the interior, though a gentle prevailing wind will allow for sea breezes near the coast each day, with our dry pattern likely to continue until a building chance of showers next Friday, toward the end of the exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
The change in air is noticeable across New England Tuesday morning with a drop in both temperature and dew point – the measure of the amount of moisture in the air – but with the energy that drove yesterday’s cold front across the area still drifting east over New England, some renewed, scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected in the North Country. While the cold air aloft may result in some small hail in the heart of these North Country storms, Central and Southern New England will stay mostly dry with only a few isolated sprinkles and light showers falling in spots during the afternoon from building puffy cumulus clouds. The drier air for most of us will mean quick enough drying to deliver moderate brush fire danger regionwide by afternoon and the breeze gusting to 40 mph at times from the west will knock loose just about every kind of pollen. Dry air tends to cool quickly with the loss of sun, so overnight Tuesday night low temperatures will drop to the 30s north and 40s south before a quick rebound to 70 degrees under sunshine Wednesday afternoon. The next disturbance to cross the New England sky comes Thursday with showers moving in from west to east Wednesday overnight and lasting through the first half of Thursday before the wind shifts from a moist, ocean flow from the southeast or east to a west wind by afternoon to start the drying process anew. In fact, Thursday’s showers mark the start of returning warmth that will be felt Friday…then really turn on Saturday and Sunday with high temperatures into the 80s, building humidity and a chance of afternoon thunder on both weekend afternoons, but particularly with the approach of a cold front later Sunday or Monday. The speed of the cold front’s passage will determine how high the chance of a renewed shower Monday is, but right now we’re thinking Monday starts the arrival of another shot of drier and cooler air for the first half of next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
Slowly but surely, the air in New England will turn warmer and more humid through the weekend, from south to north. The first sign of changing air was evident Thursday morning with clouds and pockets of fog and drizzle as the combination of an ocean wind and a general increase in moisture helped to saturate the air in Eastern New England. This isn’t the case for Central, Western and Northern New England, where dry air drives the brush fire danger high again, but eastern areas see another day of moderate, rather than high, brush fire danger. Of course, this doesn’t do much to change the astronomical pollen count that features nearly every kind of tree pollen except pine. While an easterly wind will be light but persistent Thursday, meaning the coast will again be cooler than the interior to the tune of 60s rather than 70s, a change in wind direction is on the way. Friday’s wind will gradually turn to blow gently from the south, which for most of New England means warmer and more humid air filters in, but the exceptions this time of the year are always found near south-facing coasts, where a south wind blows over ocean water that’s only 45°-50°. While ocean waves will steadily quiet in the days ahead, the phenomenon of milder and more humid air over cold water creates stubborn clouds, pockets of fog, occasional drizzle and certainly cooler temperatures, with at least some measure of cooling often able to extend 40 or 50 miles inland, into Central and Northern CT, RI, much of Southeast MA and the Maine coast up to the Turnpike, where Friday through Sunday high temperatures will likely be in the 70s, rather than 80s farther inland. While the increasing humidity will be palpable for New Englanders coming off such dry air that started the week, and will be evident with the clouds and fog at times, we’ll wait until overnight Saturday night for the first chance of more formidable showers. With the jet stream nearby – the fast river of air, high in the sky, that steers disturbances – one impulse of atmospheric energy will raise the chance of showers overnight Saturday night, with a follow-up disturbance raising the chance of scattered Sunday afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Warm and somewhat humid air will last into Monday with another chance of scattered afternoon showers and thunder associated with a passing cold front that will deliver pleasant and less humid air with high temperatures either side of 70 degrees for most of the remainder of next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
Wednesday brings the most widespread clouds of the week with a few sprinkles from time to time after early morning showers fell from parts of the South Shore of MA to Cape Cod. The change in weather isn’t marked by a change in wind – the wind is still blowing from the northeast, off the ocean in Southern New England – the difference is, after several days of dry air overwhelming ocean moisture, the air has finally moistened a bit. This mostly is happening from RI to Worcester to Manchester points southeast, with the rest of Central, Western and Northern New England still seeing sunshine. While the increased moisture in the air helps to lower the brush fire danger from high to moderate in eastern Southern New England, it remains high in parts of Northern New England, where multiple brush fires continue to burn including one that is burning for its third day in the White Mountain National Forest. Of course, without meaningful rain the pollen count remains quite high. As the northeast wind gradually abates through Thursday, the ocean will slowly play a more limited role in the weather and big surf will quiet, as well…but this time of the year the impact is almost never moot for most. For instance, pockets of fog will develop overnight Wednesday night into Thursday morning along with widespread clouds in the southern half of New England as we cool with the slightly increased moisture in the air. On Thursday the wind will turn light and variable before gently blowing from the southeast, bleeding more moisture into the air of New England. While afternoon sun should break through morning clouds and boost temperatures for nearly all, with highs in the 70s inland and 60s closer to the coast, fog and clouds will fill in again Thursday night and linger into Friday morning, before emerging sun boosts temperatures into the 70s for most, 80s in some of Northern New England away from any ocean influence, with 60s before a sea breeze at the coast. This weekend the southerly wind strengthens, which should mean daytime high temperatures climbing over 80 degrees for much of New England, this time probably including some of the eastern shoreline, though a south wind does blow over the Atlantic Ocean for any south-facing coastlines, where pockets of fog, clouds and even a touch of drizzle at times will float in and out Friday into the weekend. As humidity increases noticeably Saturday and Sunday, it won’t necessarily turn sticky for most of New England, but coming off a stretch of very dry days the moisture will be palpable in the air and also will encourage some isolated afternoon showers inland Saturday, and scattered afternoon thunder Sunday. A cold front passing through New England Monday will touch off more scattered thunder before a drier air – but still very pleasant temperatures – settles in for the middle of next week, evident in our First Alert 10-day forecast.