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Major changes to weather pattern on the way

Posted by David Epstein  April 19, 2012 09:37 AM

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You knew all this nice weather couldn't last forever. After one of the longest stretches of dry and warm weather in early spring on record, we are about to become cloudy, cooler and most importantly, wetter. Our rain deficit remains over 50% below normal. Between late Saturday and early Tuesday, if all the meteorological gods line things up for us, we could see some significant amounts of rain.

Before the rain, sunshine will be with us for two more days. Temperatures will remain well above normal and I would go so far as to rank today and Friday close to perfection. During the afternoon temperatures will be in the lower and middle 70s.

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 may even feel a bit muggy. If you have something you want to get down outside this weekend, plan on Saturday to do those types of chores. There is a risk for showers on Saturday, but it will not be a washout. Sunday should also see some showers and cooler 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.

Monday and Tuesday
During the weekend a flow of moisture will develop up the east coast. This will mean periods of rain will continue through Monday and into early Tuesday. Monday may end up being the wettest of the days that it does rain. The good news, the rain should come in several waves over several days. This will allow the ground to absorb the rain, rather than it just running off.

Take a look at the map below. The colors represent the flow of air. The red line I added is the jet stream. You can see the jet stream divides warm and cold air. Here in the east, will be on the dividing line between mild and cool air. This contrast will help feed the storm for later this weekend and early next week. If the storm moves just to our east or over our area, we will get the most amount of rain possible. If the storm moves too far east then we will miss the heaviest rain.

rainthrough mon.jpg

Drought is severe
The reason we need rain so badly is that the dry weather has pushed us over the edge in terms of drought. (note the image below)


We are now in a severe drought and the only reason it's not worse is the time of the year. 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.

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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