On the final exam for my meteorology class there is a question about balance. The reason for the question is weather is all about balance. The things we observe such as hurricanes, wind, snowstorms and such are all part of nature’s attempt to balance the atmosphere. A hurricane is the planet’s way of moving excess heat from the tropics north. Wind is nature’s way of trying to move too much air in one spot to not enough in another.
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Over the next couple of days you will notice three things (maybe more) about the weather. First, it’s going to be very cool for early October. As a matter of fact, temperatures this afternoon and tomorrow will be not much higher than the coldest October 2nd and 3rd afternoons in the record books. Second, the wind will gain your attention. Finally, you’ll notice all the clouds and periodic drizzle or even steady rain. This won’t amount to much north of Boston, but as you move south, especially over Cape Cod, there could be over an inch of rain before it ends.
The air is quite cold for the 2nd of October. This time of year it’s already getting quite cold in much of Canada, since the high pressure area to our north came from there, it has a lot of cold air, this is why temperatures are averaging so far below seasonal norms. The good news is I see a warming trend next week. Highs will get back in the 60s and a 70 degree day or two isn’t out of the question. I’ll talk about Columbus Day weekend in a few days.
There is a big high pressure system to the north of New England today. A high is an area where air molecules are sinking from above towards the ground. There’s actually more air in the center of a high than there is as you move away from it. East of Florida is a low pressure area (not the hurricane) and the difference in the amount of air there and with the high in Canada is creating a lot of wind. The flow of air is coming onshore from Georgia to Maine and will create some coastal flooding and beach erosion, mostly in the middle over the mid-Atlantic.
All of this weather has nothing to do with hurricane Joaquin which I’ll chat about in a bit. The wind will be strongest along the coast, especially within a mild of the ocean, but even inland you’ll notice it becoming quite breezy at times. While there could be an isolated power issue from the wind, it won’t become a widespread problem.
The front which brought the heavy rain to the area on Wednesday is still stuck to our east. Small areas of rain area riding along the front and since they areas are amorphous shaped blobs at times the northern and western part of them reaches inland to Boston and out near Route 495. The map below shows total rainfall potential. I think this is a bit on the high side for points north of Plymouth.
The highest opportunity for rain into the Boston area is this afternoon through Saturday early in the morning. The trend will be for the rain to push south tomorrow and Sunday, this means neither day is a washout north of Plymouth and most areas should be dry Sunday.
While the hurricane won’t directly impact the United States, we are going to see devastating pictures from the central Bahamas and I fear a large loss of life. When you have a category 3 to 4 storm sitting over the same area for so long, the affects will be catastrophic. I suspect it will take a few days to understand the full scope of what this hurricane did to that part of the Bahamas.
Carolinas To Mid-Atlantic
While the hurricane will pass hundreds of miles off the coast, a link between a separate low pressure system and the hurricane is going to drive tremendous amounts of moisture into this part of the Atlantic coast. There is going to be massive flooding, property damage and perhaps even loss of life. Up to 20 inches of rain could fall. See the map above which shows potential rainfall.
This is one of those situations where the hurricane isn’t really the catalyst for all the rain, but maybe enhancing it significantly. Notice on the image above and the moisture connection (white cloud like features) between the low and the hurricane. The final image puts this in motion and you can see how part of the moisture feed is pulled into the low pressure area at the end.