Itís opening day at Fenway Park which means spring has truly arrived. I am not a rabid baseball fan, but it is my favorite major sport to watch. Iíve been following the Red Sox since the days of Dwight Evans, Yaz, Fiske, Tiant and Louis Aparicio whose name I thought was really cool.
My first opening day was courtesy of a friend who worked at Coke. I was working at the New England Aquarium and the contract for soda vending was coming due. I was the benefactor of the cola wars that spring.
Opening day is special. Maybe itís all psychological, but our perceptions about many things in life are. When the Red Sox come back to town each year it feels like I can finally brush off winter. Although itís been getting light earlier and the sunsets are now after 7, itís not until the Sox play their first game I feel like the season has finally changed. From this point forward itís Marathon Monday, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, relaxing with weekend warmth and onto summer!
I might be jumping the gun a bit with the summer thing, but I really do feel a difference after today. April is a transitional month and the early part of the 30 days poets love is filled with contrasts. Opening day can be brilliant and warm with temperatures in the 70s, or miserable and cold with snow and readings in the 30s. Two years ago, after the non-winter winter it was 72F when the Sox played their first game here.
Today will be on the cold and chilly side of the coin with clouds thickening up and a raw breeze coming off the cold waters of Boston Harbor. While I donít expect significant rain during the game you might see clouds thicken enough to bring some drizzle or a light shower sometime in the later innings. Of course it also depends on how quickly the game goes. In the past few decades games take longer to complete so the weather can change more during the course of a typical game than it would have back in the 1970s.
Winds will be blowing in from right field (east wind) and this is one of the wind directions when fewer out of the park balls are hit.
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Overnight and through the weekend.
A period of rain will move in overnight with very chilly air mass, there will be sleet and snow over interior northern New England. Tomorrow the rain ends early and the balance of the weekend is dry with increasingly sunny skies tomorrow and sunshine for Sunday. Highs both days will be in the 50s to near 60F. A great weekend to get outside for spring clean-up!
Not a baseball fan?
Other signs of spring are likely in your garden. Bulbs have begun peeking through the ground. Tulips and daffodils are anywhere from an inch or two to several inches tall and will quickly gain height from this point forward.
April is a month where the temperature rises significantly. During the first week of April temperatures often remain in the 40s. By the time we get to the end of the month seeing afternoon highs in the 50s and even 60s is quite common.
The Atlantic Ocean plays a role in our weather every month of the year. One of the most common ways the coastal influence shows up is in the form of sea breezes. The water off our coast is in the 30s and lower 40s right now and will warm into the upper 40s and lower 50s this month. The cold ocean acts as a refrigerator and keeps the air above it cooler than the air over the land. The deeper into spring we move, the larger the difference between the air over the ocean and the air over land grow.
During the early afternoon, as temperatures warm the air over the land rises. This air is then replaced by air rushing in from the ocean and a sea breeze is born. In Boston a wind coming anywhere from due north of east to almost due south brings a chilly flow in spring and summer.
Temperatures can often be 10 or even 20 degrees warmer in places like Fitchburg or Framingham compared to Rockport, Boston or Wellfleet in situations with a sea breeze. This time of the year, if you are going to be at the coast, itís a good idea to have a jacket handy just in case a sea breeze does kick in.
Nights continue to grow shorter in April with the amount of daylight increasing to over 14 hours by the end of the month. As the light grows, plants respond. The changes can be dramatic seemingly occurring overnight.
April can also be frustrating. After a long cold winter we all want spring warmth and sunshine. While it does warm up in April, clouds and precipitation are also a part of the month. If you divide sky conditions into categories of clear, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy and cloudy we find more time spent with cloudy skies than any other sky condition. Each April can be radically different than the previous year. Some Aprils are cold and wet while others warm and dry.
If one reviews years with cold winters and a cold March, the odds favor a cooler than normal April. This doesnít mean the next 4 weeks are going to be cold and wet, but it does indicate there will be some more chilly afternoons ahead.