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Dry through Saturday, then much needed rain

Posted by David Epstein  April 18, 2012 09:14 AM

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Our 80 degree days are now behind us for a while, but the dry weather will continue the rest of the week. Cooler air has moved into New England overnight and this will keep temperatures in the lower 60s. One of the other reasons for the cooler temperatures, winds are coming from the northeast. Since there is a big cool ocean northeast of the area, those winds bring us cool temperatures.

Although today looks cooler, around 62 or 64, this is still above the normal. If you have forgotten, we should be in the mid 50s most days this time of year. An occasional day above or below that is expected, this month, we are averaging above normal consistently once again.

Tomorrow and Friday will be filled with sunshine accompanied by May or early June like temperatures. Afternoon highs will be in the lower 70s Thursday and mid 70s Friday. Either of those days will be great to be outside at lunch, play some golf or continue to work on the yard.

The weekend.
Saturday looks to be a cloudier and cooler day, but dry. Temperatures will be in the upper 60s but with less sun, it will feel cool. If you have something you want to get down outside this weekend, plan on Saturday to do those types of chores. Sunday should be rainy and cool with highs in the 50s. I will be watching the development of this rain event closely and updating frequently the rest of the week and weekend.

Drought is severe
All this dry weather has pushed us over the edge in terms of drought. (note the image) We are now in a severe drought and the only reason it's not worse is the time of the year. drought.jpg Take a look along the road and notice the grass is grey or brown. Although we have had warm weather the leaves are not growing as fast as normal. I am having to water my vegetables every few days and the lawn is not growing nearly as fast as it should in mid-April.

Trees not leafing very fast
There is a complex relationship between the roots of the trees and the buds above. The roots are where something called cytokinins are made and then travel into the tree helping to 'tell it' to grow. I suspect that the drought has slowed the production of cytokinins and is why many trees seem to be stuck at the same level of growth for the past month. If we do get an inch of rain this weekend, watch the leaves explode next week.

Changes for the weekend
The weather models are all predicting some beneficial rain to occur this weekend into early Monday. The question, just like during the winter, is what will the exact track and strength of this storm be as it moves up the coast. Ideally, we want a track similar to any major nor'easter in order to get the most rain over the State and the heaviest in eastern Massachusetts.

The picture below shows the position of two storms late this weekend. Storm one will have already gone by, (it's over Canada in this image) and we may still be getting experience rain from storm two (to our south). The jet stream will carry each of these storms up the coast between Friday and Monday. To the left of the center of the storm, about 50-150 miles, is the ideal spot for heavy rain. With 5 days until the rain begins, it's tough to know that exact track, but this is as excited as I have been about the potential for rain since February. Remember, we are over 60% below our normal rainfall, at a time when we need it most. This time of year, we should have had over 13 inches of rain by now. As of today, we have had just about 5.55 inches. That is 7.65 inches below normal or nearly two months worth of rain that hasn't fallen.


One last image I want to share today, is the prediction for how much rain will fall this weekend into Monday. The image below is but one prediction from one time. In other words, I could get the same map later today and it will be somewhat different. However, what is significant is that the trend of the computer models has been to forecast rain this weekend. I feel reasonably confident we will receive at least one inch of rain. There are scenarios that could occur, in which rainfall would be as much as two or three inches. Let's hope!

rainthrough mon.jpg

Gardening tip this week.
I put together a video that shows what I am doing in my garden right now and how I prepare the soil for planting. You can also see what I was able to winter over as a result of the mild weather and some minimal protection.

Follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at

This blog is not written or edited by 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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