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Hot afternoon and many more ahead

Posted by David Epstein  July 12, 2012 02:40 PM

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Ever so slowly our temperatures during the afternoon are creeping up. Fitchburg is just one of several cities already having hit 90F this afternoon. Many other cities and towns away from the coast could easily hit and exceed 90F for 5 or 6 of the next 7 days. This will be another heat wave for many. With humidity eventually becoming uncomfortable, the dog days of summer, like everything else this year, are here early. Twitter is a great way to interact with Weather Wisdom. Just follow me at
@growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

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
We are still enjoying some low humidity today as it will take a few days for moisture in the air to increase. You may have noticed that your house was quite warm much of the evening last night if you didn't put on the air conditioner. As the temperatures rise, it will take more time at night for our homes to cool. By tomorrow, I think I am going to have to go back to the air conditioner, as much as I dislike it. 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.

On these cool mornings, you can close up the house early and it will, if you have good insulation, keep the house comfortable for much of the day. Also closing the shades helps, but if you have plants near windows remember to somehow get them some light.

Drought

The drought continues to be very severe in some parts of the country and across the Midwest.

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.

The weekend
The weekend is looking very summery with hot temperatures and humidity. Saturday there is no chance of rain so that is the better day. Sunday still looks good, but there will be more clouds and a slight chance of storms in the afternoon. As you know, we can't predict the time of the storms or even if you will get one. We can only let you know that conditions are Sunday are going to be favorable for storm development.

Next week
July heat and humidity rolls on through Wednesday at least. The long range models show the Bermuda high breaking down at the end of the week with cooler and less humid air. That forecast is a long ways off and quite a bit can change.


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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