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Mild weather for the weekend, but is the first snow not far away?

Posted by David Epstein  October 17, 2013 12:30 PM

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Our great stretch of weather continues with the mild air in place for about another week. Normally this time of year my tomatoes would be done and a frost would have taken many of the late growing flowers. This year our October temperatures are averaging just over 4 degrees above normal.

If you want to discuss weather, climate or gardening or even education please find me on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Some sunshine will be around this afternoon and if we get enough afternoon solar heating some inland areas will see highs well into the 70s. Even without sunshine, it’s going to be mild second part of the days.

A quick shot of rain moves from central Pennsylvania and New York through Vermont and into Maine. The southern part of the rain will give some rain to southern New England, but the bulk of the rain stays north and west of Boston.

Once the rain ends in the early morning hours Friday skies will begin to clear and sunshine returns for the afternoon tomorrow. It will continue to be mild.

Weekend forecast
Our weekend weather roll provides dry and seasonable days. The annual Head of the Charles Regatta takes place with picture perfect conditions for rowers and spectators alike. Winds won’t be a problem so the chop on the river should be minimal. Temperatures will rise from the upper 40s and lower 50s at sunrise just before 7AM to the lower 60s during the afternoon.

Changes coming
When we look at weather maps we can see how anomalous the pattern is right now by looking at what’s going on at 18,000 feet above the earth. At this level, you have about ˝ the atmosphere above and below you. On the left side of the image below, the red/orange areas represent those parts of the hemisphere that are basically warmer than normal right now. The right side of the map shows the pressure systems present at the surface in the same part of the world.
500 mb.gif

The daily weather as a result of this pattern has been mild and mostly dry. While temperatures have been warm, we also have only had about 50% of the normal amount of rain. Nothing lasts forever and there are signs of a big change next week.

When patterns undergo a change, the exact placement of the jet stream plays a critical role in the day to day weather. After the upcoming weekend colder air is going to begin to move south and east into the country from Canada. The new pattern will flip the above average winds and pressures at 18,000 feet to below average.

The map below shows how the pattern is going to change next week. Notice the areas previously above average are now below. As the winds change direction at the upper levels, temperatures will fall at the lower levels.
500 mb anomoly.png

One of the computer models has temperatures in the 30s and 40s next Thursday across a wide swath of the northeast; this would be a 20 degree or greater change from temperatures the next few days.
temps oct 24th.png

There is even one model showing a chance for snow in parts of the northeast during the last week of October, it’s not forecasting a big storm, but perhaps some snow in the air across parts of New England. The map below is from the GFS model last night. If this were to be correct, someone could be shoveling before Halloween. Since this forecast is so far away, it will likely change dramatically, but it illustrates the downward trend in temperatures surely on the way.
first snow.png


The last week of the month, not matter how the pattern unfolds, will certainly bring some changes and some forecasting challenges.
Gardening This Week
This is a great time of year to remove some of the invasive plants in your garden. In this week's video, I head to the New England Wild Flower Society to learn about some of the worst plant offenders in the garden.

If you want to discuss weather, climate or gardening or even education please find me 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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