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A taste of spring for today

Posted by David Epstein  January 24, 2012 07:05 AM

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A taste of spring in January will be our weather for today. After a night of rain and fog folks are going to enjoy a really great day for today. This will be a mild and dry day with a nice breeze from the northwest. The record high for the 24th in Boston is 62 degrees set back in 1999. Although we will be far from a record high on Tuesday, the mild temperatures, melting snow and our later sunset at 4:47 p.m. may cause a few of you to feel a touch of spring fever.

For the next several days the cold arctic air will be over Canada and parts of the Dakotas. This map shows where the warm and cold air masses are for today. Temperatures are in Celsius. The data is based on one of the computer models we use to make forecasts. surface tues.jpg Here in the east today, we will see temperatures milder than most people would expect this time of the year. During the afternoon will be at or above 40 degrees. This will be the case again on Wednesday and Thursday this week. It will turn wet and colder Thursday night and more typical January temperatures will be with us this weekend.

The reason for the mild air can be traced back to the jet stream which is about to move to our north. The jet stream is a band of winds at about 30,000 feet that circles the planet. The reason for the jet stream in the first place, is that the planet is out of balance with regard to temperature. Let me anthropomorphize the planet to make the point. The planet would like to have the same temperature everywhere. That is obviously not the case.
Jet stream 1_23.jpg Therefore the planet uses the jet stream to move cold air south and warm air north. Think of the jet stream as the conveyor belt that moves these blobs of air. When the jet stream is south of us we are on the cold side. When the jet stream moves to the north we are on the warm side. On Tuesday we will be on the warmer side of the jet stream.

Growing microgreens

The mild air may give you thoughts of spring and even planting. While I am passionate about weather, I am even more passionate about gardening. One of the things I have done this winter is to grow microgreens inside on a window sill. To grow microgreens, you simply plant seeds of vegetables like lettuce, kale, collards, mustard. After they germinate instead of waiting for the plants to mature you harvest them when they grow their first set of true leaves.

You can grow microgreens on any window sill and in any shallow container. I use everything from plastic strawberry containers to take-home containers from various restaurants. You can order microgreen kits online that have more official looking containers but why spend the money?

Choosing which seeds to grow as microgreens is a lot of fun. Many seed catalogs have microgreens for sale or you can just plant some old seeds you have from the past couple of years. If you want to learn more watch the video below on how I grow microgreens.

Follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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