As One Disturbance Departs, New England Readies for the Next

LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (23) LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (23) LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (23)The large jet stream level disturbance that’s been meandering east out of the Great Lakes all week, increasing our chance of showers each day in New England, is finally passing through our New England sky Thursday.  Though not exceptionally strong anymore, this disturbance carries a pool of cold air aloft, thousands of feet above our heads, which will prove important in our Thursday forecast.  Cold air aloft, with near-surface temperatures rising into the 50s as has been the case the last few days, will create a temperature contrast that will result in building, puffy, cumulus clouds that, during the late morning through early evening, will grow tall enough to produce rain showers.  In fact, there’s enough cold air aloft that we will likely see a decent amount of ice form in the top of these clouds, which means embedded downpours, a few lightning strikes and even some small hailstones – balls of ice at the core of the downpours – are possible Thursday afternoon into early evening.  While none of these are expected to become damaging, keep in mind the old adage, “When thunder roars, go indoors!”  This is a reminder if you can hear thunder, the lightning strikes are close enough you should seek shelter.  By late day and early evening, even Cape Cod – exempt from most of the showers that cropped up over recent afternoons – should find a few showers crossing the Canal, but near and after sunset, any showers will quickly diminish, giving way to a clearing overnight sky with a few spots of fog, particularly in valleys.  Friday brings a welcome break between atmospheric disturbances that won’t last long, but does deliver a great day – early pockets of clouds quickly give way to morning sun, then clouds increase during the afternoon to evening, but the day stays dry, regionwide.  Most of New England should remain dry through Saturday morning, even as clouds take over starting late Friday – a swath of rain with the next approaching storm system will be slowly moving through the Mid-Atlantic Friday night to Saturday morning, though a few very isolated and light showers are possible for a brief time Saturday morning.  Far more likely is the arrival of rain from southwest to northeast across New England, during the afternoon and late day for Southern and Western New England and evening to night in much of NH and ME.  Rain should continue Saturday night into Sunday morning.  Though it’s possible there’s a relative lull in rain intensity at some point Sunday, our First Alert Team is very hesitant to put a lot of weight in that from this juncture – at least some showers remain likely, an onshore wind very well may lock in low clouds and drizzle, and a new shot of rain will be moving into the region sometime later Sunday through Sunday night, anyway, so at this point we believe a damp day of off and on showers is the best way to plan.  Next week brings a very similar pattern to this past week, but the slow-moving upper level disturbance stalling over the Great Lakes before nudging east over the course of the week will be larger and stronger, meaning the coverage of showers cropping up each day will likely be greater than most days this past week.  That said, there may be a brief period of time, centered on Monday, where we enjoy mild air and fair weather from dry air in the wake of Sunday night’s rain, before those repetitive scattered showers return, anew, from Tuesday onward.

Slow-Moving Weather Pattern Breaks Friday, Returns Saturday

LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (22)It’s incredible that the same, slow-moving disturbance responsible for driving weekend rain through New England continues to only slowly trudge east now on Wednesday, not set to move over and east of New England until Thursday.  We’ve seen the result: lots of moisture in the atmosphere forming overnight clouds and pockets of fog each night that slowly break apart during the day before scattered showers develop – our Wednesday will stick to the script.  The biggest deviation has been the morning clouds being more stubborn from the NH Seacoast through Eastern MA, but by afternoon all except Cape Cod will find a blend of sun and clouds.  With an onshore, easterly wind, temperatures will be hard pressed to break more than a degree or two above 50 at the coast, but inland should rise well into the 50s once again, and as the upper level disturbance approaches New England from the west, a few showers will develop from west to east late Wednesday into Wednesday evening, with some embedded downpours or even a rumble of thunder.  As these move inside of Route 495 in Eastern MA, they’ll tend to fizzle Wednesday evening, but a few showers will continue to wander across New England from west to east overnight Wednesday night with a few pockets of fog redeveloping.  By Thursday, the heart of the upper level energy will finally be over New England, and the result will be more numerous showers over the course of the day, though they will be scattered.  Again, an embedded downpour or rumble of thunder will be possible, particularly during the middle afternoon, but by evening any showers will be fizzling and drier air will arrive for Thursday night and a splendid day Friday.  The wind will continue to blow off the ocean Friday, meaning even with sunshine for the first half of the day ahead of increasing afternoon clouds, temperatures won’t exceed the 50s at the coast, but inland should rise into the 60s for what will be the best day of the week.  The return of pleasant weather won’t last long – another intense, slow-moving jet stream level disturbance will take a similar path to its predecessor this weekend, with the upper level energy settling into the Great Lakes and pumping a feed of moisture northward, ahead of it, into New England.  The result will be clouds Saturday morning and midday, then rain showers arriving during the afternoon and ramping up to a steadier rain Saturday evening and night.  At this point, it looks like the showers will linger through Sunday, even though they may fall at greatly varying intensity…then more rain is expected for at least a part of Monday, particularly in the morning.  The bottom line is a nearly repeating weather pattern sets up heading into next week, with the slow-moving jet stream level disturbance only creeping eastward from the Great Lakes over several days, keeping the chance of scattered showers in the forecast each day, particularly during the afternoons, with temperatures in the 50s for many, though some days exceeding 60 inland.  By the very end of our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, we start to emerge out of the influence of that large disturbance and should see improving weather return for next Friday.

Sunglasses...and an Umbrella! Classic New England Spring Weather Continues

LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (21) LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (21) LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (21)Our repetitive weather pattern continues in New England, though it’s not a terrible pattern to be stuck in: robust breaks of sun during the morning that burn through early clouds and fog, then building afternoon clouds with scattered showers, meaning both the sunglasses and umbrella get some use each day.  As these April showers continue for days on end, the added value our First Alert Team tries to provide is with more specific detail on where and when raindrops will fall.  We employ several different tools to provide unparalleled detail for our viewers, including day-by-day chance of precipitation maps generated by our exclusive NBC Forecast System, as well as using our exclusive system to illustrate timing and intensity of showers.  Tuesday’s pockets of thick fog thinned as the sun rose and showers aren’t expected to develop until at least 2 PM for most of Central and Southern New England, though raindrops continue falling in parts of Maine under a stalled band of showers.  Elsewhere, the afternoon showers will mostly avoid the South Coast and Cape Cod, and won’t drop heavy rain amounts anywhere but will continue at least in scattered form past dinnertime, slowly fizzling after sunset.  With a sea breeze developing, high temperatures around 60 inland will be about 5-10 degrees cooler at the shore, then fog banks will drift toward the coast from the ocean during the evening and night, while additional areas of fog develop inland where any showers fall.  Yet again, fog and clouds will break up Wednesday, but this time, showers aren’t expected until late afternoon – around 4 PM onward – and mostly will be found away from the coastline, for inland communities.  A rumble of thunder is possible with Wednesday evening’s showers as the center of upper atmospheric energy that’s been sparking our daily showers finally approaches, keeping scattered showers alive into Wednesday night and at least in scattered for Thursday, until the disturbance tracks east and allows showers to dwindle later Thursday afternoon to evening.  The dry respite should last through Friday and at least Saturday midday, but by later Saturday, rain will approach from the southwest.  Like this week’s disturbance, the one developing along the East Coast this weekend looks to slow enough to keep at least scattered showers in the forecast through the first half of next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.  That said, much of New England is still running below normal for rainfall in the month of April!  As for temperatures, we continue to see no exceptional warmth or cold in the 10-day forecast, with near-normal or slightly below normal temperatures through the 10-day period.

Slow-Moving Disturbance Likely to be Followed By Another This Weekend

LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (20) LKS_NBCU_POP_D0_NEWENG (20)After being spoiled by some incredible spring weather a couple of weeks ago, it’s a tough realignment to settle into this pattern of highs in the 50s and occasional showers and realize: this is what’s normal for New England this time of the year.  From temperatures to showers, it all fits the April New England bill.  We’re coming off a soaking spring rain this weekend, with rain amounts ranging from a third of an inch at the South Shore of MA to over three inches of rain in CT – but all of it enough to cut the pollen count to moderate for one day and bring the brush fire danger to low.  In the days ahead, even with an increased chance of showers, New England sees both pollen and brush fire danger rising again, and it’s not like each of these days are miserable.  In fact, Monday is a great example with limited sun, building clouds, but mostly dry conditions for a lot of New England until afternoon into early evening, when scattered showers develop, particularly north of a line from Bradley, CT, to Brockton, MA.  Eventually, by Monday evening, a brief shower may even skirt Cape Cod before showers dwindle overnight until partial clearing with patchy fog by dawn and low temperatures either side of 40 degrees.  Tuesday brings a near-repeat of Monday’s weather with breaks of morning sun, building clouds, and scattered afternoon showers that will gradually diminish overnight with patchy fog.  What’s interesting is although our steady weekend rain will be long gone by midweek, the upper level atmospheric energy that drove the rain here in the first place is taking its sweet time to meander east, and still will need to cross New England at midweek – ahead of it, we should find a break in the showers for much of New England during the day Wednesday, but by Wednesday evening and night, showers or even a thunderstorm return from the west and likely deliver scattered showers Thursday.  Though Friday brings a respite from shower chances, the next significant bundle of atmospheric energy will be tracking east across the nation’s midsection, caught in the storm-steering jet stream winds aloft that will point that next disturbance at New England, meaning clouds Saturday likely lead to returning rain late Saturday into Sunday.  Yet again, the potential exists for a slow transition of that energy aloft, meaning showers may linger into the first half of next week.  That said, we see no exceptional warmth or cold in the forecast for the foreseeable future, and while it would be nice to see slightly milder temperatures to start grass seed, it’s not a bad pattern to plant new grass, particularly in Central and Southern New England.

Major Weather Pattern Change Delivers Cooler Air As Far As the 10-day Can See

LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D1_NEWENG (63) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D1_NEWENG (63) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D1_NEWENG (63) LKS_NBCU_POP_D2_NEWENG (37) Please Note: No new web post update from me until Monday, April 24 - I'll be off with the family for April school vacation week...hoping our forecast improves LOL! Our recent summer preview is on borrowed time as an expanse of cool air has been building across the Canadian border and will be pushed southward in response to strengthening high pressure over Quebec that builds into Atlantic Canada, pushing some of that cool air southwest into New England.  The opening volley of cool air comes Friday when the sea breeze kicks in at the coast around midday – it’s, of course, common for a sea breeze to bring a precipitous drop in temperature, but the change will be especially pronounced Friday afternoon, with coastal communities like Boston dropping from around 80 to the middle 50s by late day!  Farther inland, the new air takes longer to arrive, but the Interstate 95 and 495 corridor will feel the big change in air by late day and early evening, with areas farther west experiencing a more gradual change of air Friday night.  This change of air benefits those who enjoy exercise or have respiratory ailments, as the pollution and haze of Thursday and Friday will mostly be swept west as the new air off the ocean will be cleaner.  For most, Friday night low temperatures drop to the 40s under partly cloudy skies, and the onshore flow of wind Saturday will ensure a much cooler day across the board, with highs in the 50s at the coast, 60s inland and 70s reserved for the western half of New England. Most of Saturday looks dry, but a weakening disturbance tracking northeast from the Mid-Atlantic will spread showers into Southern New England Saturday evening and night, then as the disturbance weakens overhead Sunday, occasional light showers will crop up.  Right now, it looks like the most focused showers Sunday will be on Cape Cod in the morning, then near the coast later in the day, but anything after the morning Cape rain is likely be scattered and quite light, meaning those who are OK with a few light passing showers at times could still make outdoor plans work, though the expectation for some raindrops at times needs to be there.  A stronger disturbance prompts a storm over the Great Lakes Sunday to drift east and encourages new rain showers to develop over New England for Patriots day, with passing showers and cool temperatures in the 50s looking likely for the Boston Marathon.  What once looked like a disturbance quick enough to bring gradually improving weather and a diagonal tailwind has slowed sufficiently to change that forecast from what it was early this week – now looking like the east wind will be slower to turn, and that’s a big impact for runners, as it means a headwind instead of tail.  That said, the overall wind speed will be fairly light at 5-10 mph.  The middle and end of next week brings some improvement for those trying to enjoy a few days of April’s school vacation week for many kids, with Tuesday bringing some modicum of improvement and Wednesday to Friday looking good before the chance of showers rebuilds next weekend, at the end of our First Alert 10-day forecast.

Warmth To Accompany Dry Air...Until Significant Pattern Shift Arrives This Weekend

LKS_FRONTS_BOSDMA (82) LKS_FRONTS_BOSDMA (82)New England is on the cusp of our first widespread summer preview, but before that warmth arrives, Wednesday delivers very comfortable spring air with a fresh northwest wind gusting at times to 30 mph behind a cold front that marched into New England in the early morning.  The reinforcing shot of dry air from Canada ensures brush fire danger will remain high to very high with a Red Flag Warning – a government warning for explosive fire growth conditions – continuing through the day, owing to the combination of dry air and a gusty wind.  Of course, pollen count remains elevated for days on end with maple, alder, juniper and poplar continuing to lead the way, though we’re just starting to see additional pollens emerging and those should increase in the coming days.  New Englanders will want to keep hydration in mind over the next few days, as the repeated dry weather can take water from the body without much sweating, making sure kids and pets have plenty of water on hand.  Although clouds outweigh sun Wednesday, the breaks of sun this time of year come with a strong sun angle for a high UV index and will leave New Englanders reaching for the sunglasses.  Skies clear overnight Wednesday night as the wind quiets with low temperatures around 50 degrees, then just enough west wind should pick up Thursday to stave off a sea breeze and allow warm temperatures in the 80s to reach all the way to coastal communities during the afternoon.  If Boston hits 80° - and our forecast is 83° - it would be the first 80+ temperature in the City since September 18!  With a lighter wind Friday, we’re quite likely to turn a sea breeze along the coast after a quick temperature rise in the first part of the morning, so someplace like Boston is likely to rise into the 70s…then fall through the 60s during the afternoon, while inland warms to and beyond 80.  Even inland, though, the sea breeze eventually arrives to somewhere near Route 495 in Eastern MA by day’s end, cooling temperatures late and really serving as the opening volley for what will be a cooler, onshore wind Saturday.  While Saturday is the pick of the weekend, it’s likely to be mostly cloudy, particularly in Eastern New England where the continued onshore wind flow will keep temperatures cool, though deep inland may rise to around 70 degrees.  Our New England weather takes another step back on Sunday, as rain showers arrive and an onshore wind continues, heralding a significant weather pattern change that starts with a weakening storm center along a dying warm front Sunday, then eventually gives way to continued showers Sunday night into Patriots Day as a large upper level storm moves east out of the Great Lakes, complete with cool air that will reconfigure the jet stream winds aloft for most of the MA school vacation week.  The jet stream – the fast river of air, high in the sky, that separates cool air to the north from warmth to the south – dips south as a “trough” establishes over the Northeast next week, meaning a cooler pattern with showers expected at least during the first half of Marathon Monday and high temperatures near 60 degrees, then another chance of showers by week’s end in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.

Brush Fire Danger, High Pollen, Dehydration - The Trappings of a Gorgeous Spring Stretch

LKS_FIREDANGER (3)A gorgeous stretch of spring weather will transition to a summer preview for many later this week and delivers plenty of sunshine with dry air.  Each spring we usually are game for one or two stretches like this in New England, which is a welcome treat for most of us coming off the winter and a sure sign we’ve turned the corner to the new season.  Of course, with dry weather comes a few concerns worth mentioning.  The combination of dry brush leftover from last year, a lack of new leaves to cast shade on the ground, days of strong sunshine and no rain has led to dry brush ready to burn should a fire start.  With a gusty southwest wind to 35 mph at times Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service hoisted a Red Flag Warning – a warning that conditions favor explosive fire growth should a fire develop.  Here in New England and much of the Northeast, humans are almost always the cause of brush fires – namely, cigarettes tossed aside and embers from brush burns that fly away.  Another impact of the dry air is a dehydrating condition for the body, so staying hydrated will help stave off headaches, unless of course that headache is allergy-related, considering pollen will remain high this week in the dry and warming air.  All of that said, so many New Englanders find joy when spring temperatures resemble summer, and after a few classic spring days of 60s and 70s Tuesday and Wednesday, inland communities should rise into the 80s Thursday and Friday.  At the seashore, it always takes a relatively strong breeze to offset a sea breeze and it’s very close as to whether we see a strong enough breeze either Thursday or Friday, so right now our forecast is for temperatures at the coast, including Boston, to rise into the 70s before turning back around as the sea breeze circulation sets up.  It would be great if this weather could hold into the weekend, but that’s not likely to be the case as a weak area of low pressure nears New England Saturday and turns the wind onshore while increasing the clouds, cooling temperatures noticeably.  Showers should hold off until Saturday night and Sunday, when temperatures will struggle to get out of the 50s at the coast but should reach the 60s inland with scattered showers.  Given a fairly large upper atmospheric storm moving east toward New England from the Great Lakes at the jet stream level, right now it does look like there’s ample reason to keep scattered rain showers in the forecast for at least the morning of Patriots Day for the Boston Marathon, and though the greatest chance appears to be limited to the morning with a west-southwest, quartering tailwind taking over for the runners and temperatures rebounding from around 50 at the start to around 60 by afternoon in Boston, it’s still early and there’s plenty of time for the details to change.  Regardless, our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast certainly looks different next week – far closer to normal temperatures for this time of the year.

After Sharp Differences in Thursday Temps, Showers to Usher In New Air

LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (44) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (44) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (44) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (44)Early morning showers and embedded downpours in Southern New England – and a combination of rain and freezing rain showers in Northern New England – were a signal of warmer air moving into the New England sky, a couple of thousand feet above the ground.  At ground level, it’s been a slower evolution from cool to warm, with heavy, dense cool air stubborn to move in eastern and northeastern New England, particularly close to the coast where a sea breeze in spots makes it very difficult for warmth to arrive.  Inland, mild air more readily replaces the cool after pockets of thick fog have thinned out and breaks of sun help the process in an otherwise very light wind setup – not a classic spring warming setup for New England, where we usually see gusty southwest winds. In other spots, like the North Country or most of Maine, significant warmth simply never makes it in, but this day does end up milder than Wednesday was.  Regardless, an incoming cold front Thursday evening delivers late day into night rain showers from northwest to southeast, falling for several hours from late day through the first half of the overnight and lasting into predawn on Cape Cod before exiting and opening the door to a new air.  The new, brisk air arrives on northwest gusts to 40 mph Friday with a blend of sun and variable clouds forming in a continued changing of air aloft, where cool air makes a return.  In fact, while the entire holiday weekend will be dry except for some Friday flurries in the Northern Mountains, the holiday weekend will also be cool, with overnight lows in the 20s for many and daytime highs only near 50 Saturday and in the 50s Sunday.  Nonetheless, this is classic, early spring weather for New England and does mark the start of an extended dry stretch.  As a massive area of high pressure – fair weather – sets up over the Eastern United States next week, our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast shows a delightful early spring week with gradually rising temperatures each day through the 60s and even into the 70s by later week, though sea breezes likely will develop on some days near the coast, particularly by late week.  Of course, while the weather next week will be beautiful, new tree pollens will emerge in a rising overall pollen count, and brush fires can be expected in the dry conditions without leaves yet on the trees and bushes.

Wintry Chill Wednesday Gives Way to Quick Rebound, Great Holiday

LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (43) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (43) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D2_NEWENG (55)LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (43) LKS_FCST_HIGHS_D0_NEWENG (43)Our midweek chill, courtesy of a combination of cloudy skies and an east-northeast wind, is making Wednesday feel more like winter than spring, with high temperatures already set prior to dawn as temperatures fell and now remain stalled at 40-45 degrees for many, 30s in Northern New England.  Rain isn’t a big feature for our Wednesday with only sprinkles from time to time, though Wednesday evening will feature expanding sprinkles and light showers, then overnight Wednesday night we’ll add areas of fog to Southern New England with a light and variable wind.  Thursday dawns equally gloomy with passing showers, areas of fog and patchy drizzle near the coast that breaks up gradually as a southwest wind begins transporting new, milder air into New England from the south and west.  The change in air is dramatic – Wednesday saw morning temperatures ranging from nearly 80 degrees in St. Louis to subzero temperatures in Quebec – and the sharp warm front marking the leading edge to the warmth will mean a tight difference between highs in the 50s Thursday, expected for Northern and Central New England, and 70s for interior Southern and Western New England.  The transition zone from Boston through northeast MA into Southern NH is a tough forecast, with our expectation that cool air will hold from the North Shore to NH Seacoast, but spots farther inland rebounding.  After a passing shower or two, Thursday evening brings a more focused round of rain and perhaps embedded thunder with a cold front that will clear New England Thursday night, leaving dry and crisp air on Good Friday with a gusty west-northwest wind to 40 mph at times, making highs in the 50s feel like 40s.  Crisp air continues Saturday with sunshine but the wind will be markedly lighter, then Easter Sunday brings a great opportunity to wear “Easter Best” outfits, as sunshine couples with dry air to bring rebounding temperatures from the 30s in the early morning to 55-60 by day’s end.  Next week, New England looks to enter an extended stretch of mostly dry weather in our exclusive First Alert 10-day Forecast, with the chance of rain showers continuing to drop but not entirely eliminated from next Tuesday, then rebounding temperatures expected later in the week – all of which should promote growing brush fire danger, new types of tree pollen, but a nice stretch of spring weather.

Big Temperature Swings Ahead of a Bright Holiday Weekend

LKS_MATTS_MEMO (60) LKS_MATTS_MEMO (60) LKS_MATTS_MEMO (60) New England is entering an unsettled few days as we straddle the line between cool air to the north and milder air to the south - a dividing line called a “front” in the world of meteorology.  Near these fronts, we tend to see an increased propensity for precipitation, and that will certainly be the case Tuesday, with the frontal boundary stalled from Southern VT to Central NH and Southern ME, and rain showers consolidating to either side of it as Tuesday progresses.  This means much of Southern New England ends up in milder air, with few if any showers and sun mixing with clouds until the clouds finally win during the middle afternoon onward - where sun breaks out, away from the coast, temperatures rise well into the 60s, while a developing sea breeze keeps the coast in the 50s.  The stalled front will move south as a cold front overnight Tuesday night, delivering a northeast wind that will both secure chilly air for Wednesday and lock in lots of clouds with occasional sprinkles, showers and pockets of drizzle.  Near the South Coast, fog that develops Tuesday night may linger in pockets Wednesday, but the big impact for New England will be the chill with highs either side of 40 degrees, regionwide.  Thursday has a lot of potential for warmth - the air a few thousand feet above the ground supports high temperatures well into the 70s and even lower 80s!  Reality may fall far short of that potential, however, as a relatively weak wind is predicted and - coming off the cool air of Wednesday - we really need a decent breeze this time of the year to bring warmth in.  Our First Alert Team expects the result to be warmth arriving Thursday to Southern New England, more stubborn near the coast, and tougher to find in Central and Northern New England, where showers will be more commonplace.  Most of New England should see a round of Thursday PM rain and thunder ahead of a cold front that will deliver bright and beautiful early spring weather for the entirety of the holiday weekend, with high temperatures ranging from near 50 degrees on Good Friday to the 60s for some by Easter Sunday.  Right now, though a chance of showers builds on Tuesday of next week, our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast looks promising for a more extended stretch of mostly dry, pleasant spring weather to persist into next week.