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First heat wave of season on the way

Posted by David Epstein  May 29, 2013 09:39 AM

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Knowing we have 3 to 4 days of heat on the way, you can’t imagine how exciting it is to a gardener to hear the sound of rain at 5AM. Bleary eyed I ran to my computer to check the radar hoping the extent of the showers was large and that the rain wouldn't end quickly. Much to my delight my garden got over a quarter inch of rain this morning and more showers are likely later today and this evening.

I'll be updating details on the upcoming heat on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

If you are a commuter having to drive back and forth for work a forecast of scattered heavy downpours might raise your anxiety level. I realize the rain can exponentially increase an already painful drive to the office. The good news is this rain is perfectly timed for the upcoming heat.

Big heat arrives behind warm fronts and this morning we find a warm front draped to our south. To the north of these fronts, cooler air sits waiting to be pushed away by the heat and humidity. All fronts are different. Some of these dividing lines can move through rather quickly going from the mid-Atlantic area to New England in a few hours, other take much longer sometimes days or never even making to this far north. Our front is going to take some time to move through the area and therefore showers and the risk of thunderstorms are in the forecast through the overnight.
surface map.gif

Our first band of showers from the front already has passed the area. Clearing behind these showers will not be quick and as a matter of fact, eastern areas my see very little sunshine today which is a good thing. The reason sunshine today isn’t great is that the air is very unstable. This means that the potential for thunderstorms will increase if we get any sunshine.

This afternoon and evening more storms will fire up to our west and begin to move eastward. In those areas that get sunshine today these storms could be strong or severe with gusty winds, downpours and hail. The threat for showers and thunderstorms will diminish by mid-evening. From Worcester westward, that is the general area that could see severe weather later today.

Heat Wave
A heat wave is defined, in this part of the country, as three or more days in a row where the temperature reaches or exceeds 90F. The official records are kept at Logan Airport which very often gets a slight sea breeze and prevents an official heat wave from occurring. Many many times places like Newton, Maynard, Concord, Milton etc. have a heat wave but Logan Airport doesn’t. This first heat wave of the season may not happen at Logan, but it’s going to happen where most of you live.
There might be a few clouds tomorrow morning, then the sun and the heat are on as the air heats up towards or just above 90F. Friday and Saturday look similar with temperatures reaching the lower and middle 90s away from the water. Cape Cod and some coastal towns will stay in the 80s.

On Sunday, more clouds mixed with the sunshine might prevent the temperature from reaching 90F, but we will have already had our first heat wave of the year. Showers and storms are likely later Sunday and Sunday night as cooler and drier air reaches New England. Next week looks much more seasonable.
Gardening this week
After moving plants around my yard the past several years because they keep getting bigger and bigger I decided to do a video about just how big some of those plants you see in the nursery will become. While they may only be a foot or two tall today, just wait a few years. Check out how big some of the more typical garden center trees and shrubs can grow. I would be interested in any stories you have from your own garden. Tweet me @growingwisdom

I'll be updating the forecast throughout the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

This blog is not written or edited by 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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