January weather is often cold and snowy. However, January also brings the chance for a thaw in the middle of the winter season. This year since we haven't had much of a winter the idea of a thaw seems a bit undeserved to me. But, no matter how you feel about a surge of mild air this time of year, its going to be here for a few days this week.
Rain is on the way tonight and some of it could be heavy. Lots of melting will continue tonight as periods of rain and mild temperatures move across the area. Tuesday is my pick of the week with temperatures approaching 50 degrees and lots of sunshine.
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.
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. Monday and Tuesday we will be on the warmer side of the jet stream.
Storms also like to form on the boundary of these blobs of air. If the jet stream takes the storm close to us and we are on the cold side, we get snow, if the storm is close but we are on the warm side, we get rain. If the jet stream takes the storm out to see we get sunshine.
This week I expect the mildest day to be Tuesday. There will be a blend of clouds and sunshine and temperatures in many places will exceed 50 degrees. Later this week the battle between air masses will get close to us again and will have to be watched for the end of the week. Until then, enjoy a taste of spring.
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.
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