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Mild start to the work week, colder finish

Posted by David Epstein  December 3, 2012 08:34 AM

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Temperatures this morning are running 20 degrees warmer than a few days ago at the same time, an illustration of just how different the air mass is today. We had a few showers pass through last night ahead of a weak front but that front won't bring any cool air with it. There will be plenty of sunshine today and the feel of spring in the air. Overnight many places will remain above freezing. This will set us up for the peak of mild air Tuesday when many towns make a run at 60F, a real December treat.For more thoughts on the upcoming weather or to just ask a question find me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com Milder air in December can cause bulbs to break ground and even some buds to swell up. No need to worry, once it gets cold again things will stop growing until true spring arrives in three months.

The reason for the mild air is a flow in the atmosphere that keeps the cold air locked in Canada. It looks like the milder than average weather is going to continue at least for the first half of the month. This doesn't mean it won't snow or be cold, it just means that on balance, when you average the first 15 days of the month, I am confident they will come out above the 30 year average.

jetstream december.png
A quick shot of colder air comes into the area Thursday and Friday but not as cold as late last week. Temperatures for the end of this week will be in the 20s at night and lower to middle 40s during the day. Over the upcoming weekend we should be back closer to the 50F degree mark with sunshine.

Longer range there doesn't appear to be any major storms for the next 7 days for New England. Most of the storminess has been confined to the Pacific northwest coast and will stay there for now. They have had quite a bit of damage the past week which you will see in the news. I suspect around the 15th of the month the pattern to try to flip again to a more active one for the east, but obviously that is too far out for a tremendously accurate forecast.

One of the primary, although not the only, factors in our weather this winter is going to be the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). This patten of pressures between the Azores and Greenland flips between positive and negative phases. We tend to be warmer and less snowy in a positive phases and colder and snowier in negative ones.NAO December 2012.png The chart shows that we have now entered a positive phase (about the time it warms up) and will stay that way much of the next week before trending negative again. The prediction for the NAO is pretty good out to about 14 days. This is one of my reasons for thinking we flip patterns sometime around mid-month.
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.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. 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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