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Now that the heat wave is over, what's next?

Posted by David Epstein  July 21, 2013 09:00 AM

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It's over. Our week long heat wave, which many of you wanted to be finished before it started, broke overnight. Unfortunately there was little or no rain with the change in air mass. It's quite unusual to have such extreme heat for so long and not get a thunderstorm or shower when it ends. However, the atmosphere just wasn't ideal for thunderstorm development in spite of the heat and humidity.

I'll be updating the details of the weather for this week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Today will be a much more comfortable day, especially north of Cape Cod. The further south you are today will dictate how dry the air feels and how much sunshine you see. Where there is full sun, it will be quite warm with highs reaching the lower and middle 80s. Along the coast in the afternoon a sea breeze will push temperatures down several degrees.
clouds as they are mp.png

Although the peak temperature of this heat wave was Friday's 99F, yesterday seemed almost as bad if not worse with that extreme humidity. Dew points, a measure of the moisture in the air, reached in the mid 70s for many hours. This is as humid as it gets in New England. When the numbers get high like that, it's virtually impossible for our bodies to cool themselves. This is why yesterday felt so uncomfortable. The temperature also reached 96F, hot even without the added humidity.

I believe the worst of the summer heat is now over. This doesn't mean we won't hit 90F again, but looking out at the long range charts the jet stream isn't going to allow that extreme heat back into the region the rest of the month. While August can certainly be extreme, the sun is getting lower, the days are shorter and the likelihood of a weeklong heat wave starts to diminish.

One of the hottest days ever in New England was August 2nd 1975. On that day every State in the northeastern section of the country hit 100F and many set all time summertime records for high temperatures. If you look at the longest August heat waves on record they are over by mid-month. The reason again is daylight becomes less and the angle of the sun is much lower by then.

You are going to hear about showers in the forecast much of this week. Don't panic the week is a washout, it won't be. However, because we will have a southwest flow of air with adequate moisture, showers could occur. Temperatures during the day this week will be much cooler remaining in the upper 70s to mid 80s. If we get a cloudy day, we could even stay cooler than that. What will be noticeable still is the humidity. We won't have the oppressive moisture levels of yesterday, but there won't be a lot of dry air either. The driest feeling day of the week will be Monday.
Gardening this week
Pests in the garden are a problem for any grower. There are now better and better organic controls for gardeners that allow good control without the harsh chemicals. Check out the video below and see how I am controlling some of the pests in my own garden this year.

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

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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