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Super overnight weather for Passover with full moon rising

Posted by David Epstein  April 6, 2012 06:34 PM

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One of my favorite times of the year is the early spring season and the Jewish and Christian holidays that take place. The first Seder of Passover begins tonight. For Jews across the globe, the holiday represents a time of renewal with the spring season. Sunday, Christians celebrate Easter and this holiday marks the resurrection of Jesus. The weekend weather will be dry and cool for these holidays and the traditions that take place with each family gathering and celebration.

Spring, Passover, Easter and tonight's full moon
The sun will set tonight at 7:16 PM in the western sky. Several minutes later, at 7:33, the full paschal moon will rise in the eastern sky. The lack of clouds will give us a great show as the moon clears the horizon. The paschal moon is the name given to the first full moon after the vernal equinox (first day of spring). Interestingly, the word paschal has a different meaning for different faiths. For those of the Jewish faith the word means of or about Passover and for Christians the word means of or about Easter. The timing of the full moon and the word paschal all come together over the next three days for Christian and Jew.

Easter falls on the first Sunday after this paschal full moon and Passover falls on the 15th day of the 7th seventh month,named Nissan, of the Jewish calender. The Jewish liturgical year is based on lunar cycles and this same principle is used for the floating holiday of Easter. This lunar connection is why the two holidays fall so close together. Although this blog entry is a all a mix of astronomy and religion, I have always found it interesting and wanted to share this with you. As a gardener I am very in tune with the weather and when I sit down to my Seder later this evening there will be a lot of symbols of spring, fresh greens from my garden all happening under the full paschal moon illuminated night sky.

Chilly nights, cool days
The weather over the next three days will be fairly typical of early April. Overnight will be mostly clear with a freeze in most areas out of the city. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s. On Saturday there may be some sunshine to start the day, but clouds will start to move into coastal areas and spread west during the day. I expect Saturday to be cooler than I thought a week ago. Chilly air from eastern Canada will keep temperatures in the upper 40s at the coast to the mid 50s in the afternoon. Sunday, will feature more clouds and a continuation of the same temperature pattern. There could be a shower as well. More changes may be happening Sunday night and early next week.


Looking for rain

On Easter Sunday I will be watching a storm to the east of Maine that will actually try to move west towards back towards the coast. Weather normally moves west to east, but sometimes the jet stream can carry storms backwards and move them east to west. Storms that move backwards are doing something meteorologist call retrograding. When a storm retrogrades, it is very difficult to predict how it will impact the area. The perfect storm back in 1991 actually, among other interesting meteorological phenomena, also retrograded back towards the coast. Whatever happens next week it will interesting to keep an eye on the storm. While I don't expect a washout, some showers would be a good thing and are needed very much.

Gardening tip of the week
There are a lot of flowering trees and shrubs in the landscape right now. One of my favorite is a variety of magnolia called 'Betty'. This particular variety of magnolia stays small and is very floriferous with wonderful purple flowers. If you are looking for a special flowering tree that will bring years of beauty to your garden check out this video.

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

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com 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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