Rain continues to fall this morning of much of the state. Snow has accumulated a few inches over northern Worcester county, but this is not a big event. This storm, unlike the past several, will be a wetter system with mostly rain for southern New England and even coastal sections of Maine. I'll be updating any changes to my forecast on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there.
Rain is going to continue most of the day today. The rain can fall quite hard at times and with a gusty wind, this isn't going to be a great day to be outside. Rainfall of up to an inch can cause some big puddles, but flooding isn't an issue. There is still so much snow in most areas that the rain will be absorbed quite a bit before even reaching the rivers and streams.. Althought there was some snow along the New Hampshire border this morning most areas never saw a flake. You will need to drive north into southwest New Hampshire and southern Vermont before snow amounts really increase. Interior Maine and especially the ski areas will see a foot or more of snow from this system. After this snowstorm, many areas in Maine will surpass the 100 inch mark of snow for the season.
This is the same storm that has and is causing so much weather across much of the eastern half of the country. There are ice storm warnings across parts of the southern Appalachians today, tornado watches to the east in Georgia and winter storm warnings for parts of New England. This is a storm with a little bit of every type of weather. Starting now and continuing through much of spring the atmosphere becomes very much in a state of flux.
There is still plenty of cold air to the north, but signs of spring are developing to the south. We know that eventually warmer temperatures will make it into Canada, but getting there can be a messy and even dangerous proposition.
The reason spring can be so volatile in the weather department is that you have such extreme temperature differences across the hemisphere. In Canada it can still be well below zero while to the south it can start nearing 90F. This extreme difference in temperature leads to big storms of rain and snow and also, depending on where you are, severe weather.
The other aspect of the weather this time of the year can be something called “blocking”. Blocking occurs when the jet stream becomes stuck in a much amplified position and doesn’t allow storms to move across the planet at their typical speeds. When a block happens, storms can remain in place for several days until they finally leave or just spin themselves to death. This week once the storm moves into the area tomorrow it will have a difficult time leaving. While I expect the steadiest precipitation Wednesday, showers of rain and snow will linger through the entire week.
Friday also begins the month of March. March is often a wintry month to start and more of a spring month to finish. As I look at the long range charts the first two weeks of the month look cold and wet. When I write “cold and wet” this doesn’t mean 14 days of snow and rain, but it does mean that during the first half of the month there will be frequent periods of precipitation and not many, if any warm days.
The week ahead
The weather looks quiet the rest of the day with an unsettled period to close out the month. As we head into March, questions about spring are sure to come. Right now the large scale pattern is very different than the past two years when spring came very early. Until we see a shift in the jet stream, our weather will feel more like winter.
Gardening this week
With another storm on the horizon for the weekend you might feel like spring is still very far away. The reality is that in just a few weeks, many of you will be able to get into your gardens and start growing for another year. Earlier this month I went to New England Grows which is a trade show for those who work in the industry. Although not open to the general public, in this week's video I share some of the latest trends and newest plants for 2013.
I'll be updating the forecast all day on Twitter at @growingwisdom please send me your reports there.
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