A cold front now to our south ushered in some very cold air, mostly in New Hampshire and Maine. The contrast in temperatures across New England is very intense this afternoon with areas in the far north staying in the teens and areas to the far south nearing 40F. This contrast will play into our weather late tonight and Saturday as the cold air starts to retreat back into Canada and a small area of precipitation develops along the temperature boundary, It is the contrast in air temperatures that causes most weather. Warmer air is lighter than cold air and as such always gets lifted. Saturday, a small low pressure system will create lift and therefore light rain and snow showers are in the forecast. I am not looking for much if any accumulation of snow with this minor event. This is but one of several very light precipitation events that will occur over the next 5 days.
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Sunday, much warmer air from the south will bump into the colder air over our region. As it does so it will be forced upward and as result some light precipitation in the form of rain showers may fall. I am not expecting a heavy rain event with this system and the good news is that the rain marks the leading edge of spring-like air. Temperatures later Sunday and into early next week will be very mild reaching the upper 50s and perhaps even lower 60s with enough sunshine. On Monday a very weak wind shift line will move through. This might produce a quick shower.
One of the issues with mild air this time of the year is that it is under great pressure to move southward. In winter, as cold air continues to build in Canada the tendency is for that air to push southward keeping the warm air at bay. Sunday through Wednesday this week, the warm air will keep trying to move north, and remain over our area. The jet stream is in a position that is keeping the cold air locked in Canada and not letting it move south into the Northeast. Even beyond Wednesday the jet stream continues in a position that isn't going to allow the coldest of the air to move southward. This is great news for heating bills and travel, but not good news for skiers as they will have to continue to rely on man-made snow for now.
One aspect about temperature contrasts this time of the year is that they are so intense across North America, that storms can develop very fast and the predictability of these storms is not great once you get beyond 5 days into the future. This morning for example, there is over a 100 degree temperature difference between northern Canada and southern Florida. You can see this contracts clearly on the map below. This huge difference represents a lot of potential energy for a future storm and is why late fall through early spring is typically the stormiest time of the year. Once the jet stream changes a bit and that cold air can start to interact with the warm moist air we will see more storminess and, if conditions are right, a snowstorm.
Gardening this week
This week I am continuing the long process of putting the gardens to bed for the winter. I don't cover tender plants until the ground is frozen. Putting straw, hay etc. around the plants too early creates a good home for mice and voles. I did plant my garlic yesterday however, just in the nick of time I feel. Check out the video below to see how I mulch many of my plants for winter.
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