Unusual weather comes with the territory in New England. If you think back to the end of August, you might remember several early mornings where the temperatures were quite chilly. We saw lows in the 40s, when you’d expect to have warm, muggy nights.
Fast forward four weeks and Christmas decorations are in the stores, but the pumpkin latte weather isn’t anywhere to be found. This past weekend, we actually had great beach weather. From Augusta, Maine, to Hartford, Conn., high temperature records have been broken over the past 24 hours, and more will likely fall Monday afternoon.
Burlington, Vt., set one of the more notable records Sunday with 90-degree weather, shattering the previous daily record of 84.
The cause of all this unusual warm weather is an area of high pressure that’s sitting over the Eastern corner of the United States.
High pressure forms when air from the upper levels of the atmosphere sinks down to the ground and piles up more air in a particular spot. Because the air is sinking, it warms and dries. This area of high pressure is pretty strong, and as it continues to sit in our area the temperatures have warmed up. The opposite would be true with rising air, which cools and becomes more saturated. That rising air scenario creates low pressure conditions, like a snowstorm or hurricane. This high pressure area also has a secondary weather effect — namely, keeping the storms Maria and the remnants from Jose out to sea.
Of course, this return to summer can’t last. We’re losing nearly three minutes of light a day, and the sun’s impact is becoming less powerful. A cold front will move into the area Wednesday, and that will be the beginning of the end of the humidity and warmth.
As this front pushes east, there will be a brief opportunity for some of the moisture from Maria to arrive midweek. It won’t be much — we’re talking only a few hours where the potential for heavier downpours exists over Southeastern Massachusetts.
When the cold front passes offshore Thursday, drier and more seasonable air will enter the region. Thursday morning may start a bit muggy, but during the day drier air will quickly filter in and by evening we’ll be back where we should be: That crisp feeling of fall will be evident.
Time to take out the window units?
Now the question you might have is: Should you take out your air conditioners? We’re nearing October, and it’s becoming very unlikely we will see an extended period of warmth like the one we’re in until next year. This isn’t to say we couldn’t see a day near or even above 80 degrees in the future, however, the odds start decreasing rapidly in October.
Indian summer still To come
The angle with which the sun hits the Earth is rapidly decreasing. The sheer lack of light makes it very difficult, although not impossible, to reach summertime warmth in October. Indeed, a period of warm weather after the first few cold snaps is quite common. The temperature in Boston was 90 degrees as late as Oct. 12 in 1954, and we’ve had Halloween temperatures as warm as 81 back in 1946. But any warm weather from this point forward is a bonus. So enjoy it, because you’ll be complaining about the cold soon enough.