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Humidity and heat, but some storms Sunday

Posted by David Epstein  July 14, 2012 02:46 PM

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Mid-July is the heart of summer and that means heat and humidity across much of the country, including the northeast. This weekend will not be perfect as we had clouds the first part of Saturday and the risk for showers and storms on Sunday. That said, most of the time will be dry and temperatures will be warm to hot. Look for humidity to become very uncomfortable later Sunday and Monday continuing through Wednesday night or Thursday. The air quality is also quite poor this weekend with areas shaded in grey below under an air quality alert. If you would like more frequent weather updates and even ask a question or two please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom

air quality.png After the clouds this morning the sun is out and it has turned hot. If you did not head to the beach the evening will be perfect for a swim. like days with some clouds that are warm because it gives a break from the sun. Temperatures are going to hold in the 80s till several hours after dark.

Sunday

It is a bit humid today, but the real humidity will arrive later Sunday. As the humidity moves into the area the chance for storms will increase. In addition to the chance for rain, clouds will be an issue. Like Saturday, Sunday will not be perfect. If you are looking for bright blue sky and hot temperatures it's not in the cards.

Next week
July heat and humidity rolls on through Wednesday or Thursday. The long range models show the Bermuda high breaking down at the end of the week with cooler and somewhat less humid air. We are into the heart of July and telling you it's hot now seems a bit like saying it's cold in January. None of the days next week the heat looks to be extreme or record breaking, just that hot July weather you'd expect. I do think we will have an official heat wave Monday through Wednesday next week.

During a typical summer there is a high pressure system area meteorologists call a "Bermuda High" . This weather phenomena sets up off the Carolina coast. Since the winds around a high pressure area blow clockwise, on the left side of the high the winds come from the southwest. A southwest wind in the summer months is hot and humid and that is the type of air that is going to be over the east the next week.

bermuda high.bmp
The humidity will stay under the uncomfortable mark today but temperatures will be a few degrees warmer. Yesterday a few places reached 90F in the afternoon and today most everyone away from the beaches will hit that mark. While this is certainly not extreme heat, there has been some extreme weather this year. If you would like to know how I think about extreme heat this summer read my blog entry on that subject. Click here to read that Weather Wisdom on extreme heat and climate change.


Drought

The drought continues to be very severe in some parts of the country and across the Midwest. Parts of New England are in an abnormally dry category but as of yesterday we are not in an official drought. That said, the top soil is drying very fast and you should be watering any plants you put in recently. I water trees and shrubs one a week heavily to promote strong roots. Watering daily even in dry weather isn't a good idea for most plants.
drought.jpg
The hot temperatures and lack of rain we are going to experience the next week will create some problems for us here in the northeast. We haven't had any rain in a week and unless we get a few storms Sunday, that week could easily stretch into two weeks. Two weeks of no rain this time of year combined with heat will burn out lawns very quickly and wither plants. You may have to water your containers once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. If you are irrigating your lawn, remember watering longer and deeper in much better than watering 10 minutes every day. If you are not sure how much water you are giving the lawn put out a tuna can and turn on the system. Let the system run for 15 minutes. Whatever is in the can is how much rain you are giving the lawn. The top of the can would be about an inch (we are not using super size tuna cans). This works for sprinkler or complicated irrigation systems. You should be giving your lawn at least one quarter inch each time the system goes on. You want to give the lawn that amount 4 times per week. You can increase the time on your system to increase the amount. I recommend about 1/3rd of an inch 3 times per week in dry weather.

Gardening this week
I was on a garden tour yesterday and saw some very interesting gardens. I took a bunch of pictures and wanted share two of them. I put them on top of one another for the blog. The top picture is of a blue Globe Thistle or Echinops ritro. blue thistle and oak.bmp These plants love sun and thrive in very well drained soil. They are, once established, drought tolerant. The bottom picture is of this really cool oak tree growing over a rock. The roots are on the back side, so it appears to just be stuck there. Just one of those wonderful things about nature and you can't buy that one. The pictures are straight of the camera. I am using a Canon SX260HS if you are curious.

I garden for hours and hours each week. My hands are often hurting from pulling weeds and digging. However, a few years ago I started using long-handled garden tools for some of the finer weeding in certain beds around the garden. These tools are perfect for being able to do some precision weeding without bending over or using the repetitive hand motions that end up hurting me so much.

Remember, please 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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