Tropical Weather

Season’s Greetings! (Hurricane Season That Is)

We’re about to flip the calendar to June, which marks the start of meteorological summer. It also marks the start of Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin (North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico).

Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 through November 30, but it got off to an extraordinarily early start again in 2017 when Tropical Storm Arlene formed back in April. Alex became the second tropical storm on record during the month of April in the Atlantic when it strengthened on April 20. Arlene stayed out in the open Atlantic without affecting any land areas, before merging with a larger extratropical storm on April 23. The next storm that forms will be given the name Bret.

FINAL 0523 Hurricane Graphic_ names-700x400

Hurricane Names for the 2017 season in the Atlantic. Image provided by NOAA.

In a normal season, the Atlantic Basin sees 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes and 3 become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). While there are plenty of hurricane forecasts out there, these were pioneered by Dr. William Gray. His research team at Colorado State University continues his work, and for this season is calling for 11 named storms, of which 4 could become hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. They are scheduled to release an updated forecast on Thursday.

tracks-at-2016

2016 say plenty of storms form in the Atlantic, with several making landfall in the US. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Of course, an active season doesn’t guarantee that a storm will make landfall in the United States though. In 2010, there were 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. Only 1 storm, Tropical Storm Bonnie, made landfall in the United States. On the flip side, 1992 was a quiet season, with just 7 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane, with the first named storm not forming until August 16. Of course, that first storm was Andrew, which slammed into South Florida on August 24 as a Category 5 hurricane, one of just 3 Category 5 storms to ever make landfall in the United States.

The peak of the season usually occurs from mid-August through late September, but an early start isn’t unusual. On average, the first named storm of the season occurs on July 9, with the first hurricane forming around August 10. In 2015, there were two tropical storms during May and June (Ana and Bill), while 2012 saw 4 named systems (Alberto, Beryl, Chris, and Debby) with 1 hurricane (Chris) forming before the end of June. Last year, 2 storms formed before the end of May (Hurricane Alex in January, Tropical Storm Bonnie in late May), then 2 more tropical storms in June (Colin and Danielle)

Here in New England, we should always pay attention when a storm is nearing the Bahamas, as those are the ones that have the potential to impact us. Using data back to 1851, a tropical storm makes landfall in Southern New England or Long Island once every 4 years, while a hurricane makes landfall once every 8 years. The last tropical storm to make landfall was Irene, which passed right over New York City in 2011, so we’re about due for another one. As for hurricanes, while we’ve been threatened several times in the past few years, the last one to make landfall was Hurricane Bob in 1991. That 26-year gap is the 2nd longest on record, second only to the 28 year gap between 1896 and 1924. In other words, we are very overdue.

p1969053694-3

Hurricane Gloria produced a lot of wind across eastern New England, with significant damage across Long Island and western New England, closer to the track. Image provided by NOAA,

The Atlantic remains fairly quiet right now, and we’re not expecting anything for form in the next few days. Even if something were to form soon and head this way, the waters off of New England are too cold to sustain a tropical system, so we’d see something more like a typical nor’easter. Only two tropical storms have ever made landfall in the Northeast before the end of June. The first was an unnamed minimal tropical storm that crossed Long Island and went into southern Connecticut on May 30, 1908. The other was Tropical Storm Agnes, which made landfall near New York City on June 22, 1972, then caused devastating flooding across parts of the Mid-Atlantic states. In terms of hurricanes, the earliest one to ever make landfall up this way was Hurricane Belle, which slammed into Long Island with 90 mph winds on August 9, 1976. We did have Hurricane Arthur pass just offshore of Nantucket on July 4 in 2014. While it did not make landfall, it made for a rather wet and cool holiday, especially across Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts. Statistically, the most likely time for a hurricane to hit New England is between the middle of August and late September. Of the 23 hurricanes that made landfall in New England or Long Island since 1851, 20 of them have done so between August 19 and September 27.

Some of the statistics in this post were supplied by Gary Gray and David Vallee. David is probably the local expert in Southern New England on tropical systems and their impacts on the region. He’s written several papers on them including a nice review of 20th Century storms.

Standard
Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: May 29-June 4, 2017

Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, and it will certainly feel like summer today…..for most of the rest of the country. Around here? Not so much.

sfct.conus

Most of the nation will enjoy warm to hot temperatures on Memorial Day, except for the Upper Midwest and New England. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Low pressure will develop off the Mid-Atlantic coast early this morning and head northeastward, passing south and east of New England late in the day. The result will be a cool, damp day with plenty of showers, especially from late morning into late afternoon. Not exactly cookout weather, though you might be able to do some grilling in the evening if you don’t mind being outside in some drizzle or a few lingering showers. Tuesday and Wednesday will show some improvement, but they won’t exactly be beach days. Both days will feature some sunshine and milder temperatures, but with an upper-level low pressure area nearby, clouds and showers will likely fill in, especially each afternoon. As we flip the calendar to June on Thursday, high pressure builds in with sunshine and seasonably warm temperatures that last into the weekend. A weak low pressure area brings in more showers for late Friday into early Saturday. Another system may bring in more rain for Sunday, though there is still plenty of uncertainty with the timing of that system, which could have a significant impact on the temperatures. Right now, some models show Sunday being even cooler than our forecast, while others have it significantly warmer, which is a function of the amount of cloud cover and/or precipitation shown by each model. We’re going in the middle for now, but we’re leaning towards the cooler, wetter scenario for now.

Memorial Day: Cloudy with showers developing in the morning, continuing for much of the day. High 52-59.

Monday night: Showers taper off in evening, skies remain mostly cloudy overnight. Low 45-52.

Tuesday: Partly sunny with some showers possible in the afternoon. High 62-69, cooler right at the coast.

Tuesday night: Partly to mostly cloudy, slight chance for a shower or two. Low 49-56.

Wednesday: More clouds than sunshine with more showers possible. High 68-75, cooler along the coast.

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 70-77.

Friday: A sunny start, then clouds move in. Showers develop late in the day. High 67-74.

Saturday: Cloudy and breezy with showers likely, especially in the morning. High 68-75.

Sunday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for more showers, especially in the afternoon. High 63-70.

Thursday also marks the start of Hurricane Season in the Atlantic. We’ll likely have a post about that on Thursday. Here’s an early preview – We are VERY overdue for a hurricane to make landfall in New England.

FINAL 0523 Hurricane Graphic_ names-700x400

Hurricane Names for the 2017 season in the Atlantic. Image provided by NOAA.

 

Standard
Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: May 22-29, 2017

Did you enjoy last week’s heat? Well, it’s not coming back for a little while. Most of this week won’t be that chilly (well, except for today), but it won’t be hot either. We’re also looking at plenty of clouds and occasional showers. Not that greatest of weeks, and at this point, Memorial Day Weekend is looking iffy as well.

gfs.500wh.conus.2017052200-loop

An upper-level low will takes its time moving from the Great Lakes to the Northeast this week. Loop provided by Pivotal Weather.

Low pressure will move into the Great Lakes and then Ontario today, with an area of rain ahead of it spreading into the region. A warm front ahead of this system will likely stay to our south today, which means it’ll be a cool, damp Monday. Yeah, we’re all gonna have a case of the Mondays. By Tuesday, an upper-level low pressure are will move into the Great Lakes, and then sit there for much of the week. Yes, this is similar to the pattern we were in a few weeks ago. With the upper low sitting there, we’ll have plenty of clouds each day with a chance for showers. By Thursday, another low-pressure system as the surface will move towards the region, giving us a better chance for more rain later Thursday into Friday. The good news is, with the upper low to our west, we’ll have southwest winds aloft, meaning that we’ll be on the warm side of the system. Temperatures won’t be in the 80s and 90s again, but will be in the 60s and 70s, which is right about where they should be in late May. The upper low should start to move out on Saturday. However, these systems always seem to move out slower that the models suggest, so Saturday will probably end up with plenty of clouds and maybe some more showers. Earlier model runs showed high pressure building in for Sunday and Memorial Day, but the latest runs are a lot more pessimistic. Given the pattern that is setting up for this week, we can’t argue with that too much, even though we know everyone would prefer nice weather for the traditional start of summer.

ndfd_t2max_climo_massachusetts_3

Highs should be in the middle 60s to lower 70s across the area in late May. Most of this week will see temps right around this level. Image provided by WeatherBell.

 

Monday: Cloudy and cool with periods of rain and showers likely. High 52-59.

Monday night: Showers taper off and end. Low 47-54.

Tuesday: Plenty of clouds with some sunny breaks, Some additional showers are possible. High 66-73.

Tuesday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 49-56.

Wednesday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine, chance for a few showers. High 63-70.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with showers becoming likely. High 58-65.

Friday: Periods of rain and showers. High 57-64.

Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine, some lingering showers are possible. High 65-72.

Sunday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for more showers. High 65-72.

Memorial Day: More clouds than sunshine, additional showers are possible. High 68-75.

Standard
Extreme Temperatures, Heavy Rain/Snow, Severe Weather, Winter Weather

Summer Arrives (in the East)! Winter’s Back (in the Rockies)!

The current weather pattern across the country is one that is fairly typical of Spring. However, the results of that pattern are Winter in the Rockies and Summer in the East. In between, there is plenty of severe weather, which is fairly typical of Spring.

US500.20170517.12

A ridge in the East, a trough in the West. Not that uncommon of a pattern. Image provided by College of DuPage.

An upper-level low pressure area will move out of the Pacific Northwest and into the nation’s midsection over the next few days. While one storm system moves into the Upper Midwest today, a second one will develop east of the Rockies and move into the Plains states on Thursday. With cold air moving in behind these systems, and warm, moist air flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico ahead of them, strong to severe thunderstorms are likely again for the next few days across the Plains states.

day2otlk_1730

Thursday could be a very active day for severe weather in the Central and Southern Plains. Image provided by the Storm Prediction Center.

Severe weather has plagued the Plains states and Great Lakes for the past few days, with over 500 reports of severe weather between Monday and Tuesday. Nearly 30 tornadoes were reported, along with hail as large as softballs, and hundreds of reports of wind damage from gusts as high as 85 mph.

 

Behind the low pressure area, a late-season snowstorm is expected across the Rocky Mountains. Heavy snow will continue across portions of Montana and Idaho today, spreading into Wyoming and Colorado for Thursday into Friday. Across the higher elevations, totals of 1-3 feet are expected, which will keep the ski season going for a while longer. Snow may also spread into the High Plains of eastern Colorado and western Nebraska, with some minor accumulations possible. In Denver, it looks a couple of slushy inches may fall, though at least 1 model is forecasting much heavier amounts. In a normal year, Denver averages 1.7″ of snow, and the city has seen measurable snow during the month of May in 11 out of the last 16 years, so snow in May is not uncommon, though a heavy snowstorm, if it materializes, would be. Denver has only received 10 or more inches of snow in the month of May 6 times in a 135 years of records, with a record total of 15.5″ set back in May of 1898.

gfs_6hr_snow_acc_cw_13

A late-season snowstorm may drop up to 3 feet of snow in the higher elevations of the Rockies. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Meanwhile, in the East, an early taste of summer is ongoing, thanks to a ridge of high pressure aloft, and a surface high pressure area off the East Coast. Temperatures soared into the 80s and lower 90s on Wednesday, setting several records, but the hottest day for many locations will be Thursday. High temperatures will climb into the lower to middle 90s in many locations, likely breaking records across much of the region. When you combine the heat with dewpoints well into the 60s, it will definitely feel like a mid-summer afternoon across the region. A cold front will move through the area of Friday, possibly triggering a few showers and thunderstorms, but also sending temperatures back to where they should be in the middle of May.

ndfd_record_hi_neng_2

A lot of record high temperatures may be broken across the Northeast on Thursday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Standard
Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: May 15-21, 2017

Looks like we’ve got some weather Whiplash coming this week. We are finally going to Escape the damp and cool weather we’ve had for a while, though we still have One more day of it coming. After that, we’ll Turn The Page and head into some summer-like weather. After Tuesday’s Gone, temperatures will soar into the 80s for mid-week. After some snow in the mountains yesterday, winter lovers must realize that it’s Sad But True that we’ve finally reached The End Of The Line for snow this year. If you’re not a winter lover, then Dream No More, what you thought might have been The Day That Never Comes will finally arrive this week. Faster than you can say “Sabbra Cadabra“, you’ll be looking for summer clothes in your closet. Summer will finally arrive, and for most of you, Nothing Else Matters right now.

ndfd_t2max_climo_massachusetts_2

Normal high temperatures are in the middle to upper 60s around here in May. Only 1 or 2 days this week will be around normal. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Low pressure in the Gulf of Maine this morning will slowly move eastward today, with any lingering showers coming to an end. High pressure builds in for Tuesday with sunshine and warmer temperatures returning. As the high moves offshore by mid-week, southwest to west winds will pump even warmer air into the region with most places, especially away from the South Coast and Cape Cod, soaring into the 90s. By Thursday, we could some locations top 90 degrees. We may see a few pop up showers and thunderstorms on Thursday, but right now they don’t look widespread. A cold front will cross the region on Friday, though it will likely have little moisture associated with it. We’ll cool off a little on Saturday, but temperatures will still be near to above normal. Sunday is the big question mark at this point. Some of the models are showing a backdoor front moving in, which would mean another chilly, damp day, while others show that front retreating and moving northward as a warm front. Given the time of year and recent events, we are going to lean towards the chilly side for now, but the potential is there for next Sunday to be significantly warmer than what our forecast currently shows.

sfct.us_ne

The GFS is forecasting a hot day on Thursday. It’s not the only model showing this forecast. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Monday: Mostly cloudy and breezy with scattered showers ending. Some afternoon sunshine may develop. High 55-62.

Monday night: Becoming mostly clear. Low 45-52.

Tuesday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 69-76

Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 50-57.

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy, and warmer. High 78-85, except 70-77 along the South Coast, possibly cooler on Cape Cod.

Thursday: A mix of sunshine and clouds, breezy, warm, and humid, with afternoon showers and thunderstorms possible. High 85-92, except 77-84 along the South Coast, possibly cooler on Cape Cod.

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny and drier. High 75-82, cooler on Cape Cod.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 64-71.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a chance for showers. High 54-61, possibly warmer the farther south and west you go.

20170213-metallica-inside-hero

The home of the Super Bowl Champions will be Hardwired to Self-Destruct on Friday. Image provided by GilletteStadium.com

Metallica Forecast: This Friday night, one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all-time returns to this area when they setup shop for a concert at the home of the 5-Time Super Bowl Champions. For those of you who are heading down to worship at the altar of the almighty Metallica, you can expect clear skies, with temperatures starting the evening in the upper 60s, dropping to the lower 60s by the time the final firework has exploded.

Standard
Heavy Rain/Snow

Mother’s Day Gift Idea – An Umbrella

It’s been a very wet spring across much of the Northeast, and it’s going to get a lot wetter over the next few days.

GrowPNormNRCC

The last 2 months have seen well above normal rainfall across the Northeast. Image provided by Northeast Regional Climate Center.

After experiencing drought conditions for much of the past year, a much wetter pattern has settled in across the Northeast this Spring. Much of the region has received 6-12 inches of rain since the middle of March, which is up to twice the normal amount. As a result, flooding has developed in some places, especially north of the border into portions of Ontario and Quebec. Persistent heavy rains across these provinces has flooded hundreds of communities in the past few weeks.

Instead of relief, it looks like conditions will worsen this weekend. Low pressure will move into the Carolinas on Friday, then off the East Coast on Saturday, slowly moving northeastward over the weekend. Rain and thunderstorms will move across the Mid-Atlantic states on Friday, spreading northeastward during the day.  The rain should reach the New York City area around daybreak Saturday, moving into Southern New England during the afternoon. As the system slows down south of Long Island, heavy rain is likely across portions of the Northeast Saturday night into Sunday. Although the rain will taper off Sunday afternoon, it may not completely end until sometime on Monday as the storm takes it time to depart the region.

gfs_tprecip_neng_18

A lot of rain may fall in a short time across portions of New England this weekend. Image provided by WeatherBell.

While heavy rain and flooding are the main threats with this system, they are not the only threats. As the system intensifies over the North Atlantic, gusty winds are expected, especially along the coastline of New England and Long Island. Sustained winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to 50 mph are likely. These winds will help churn up some rough seas, which may lead to some coastal flooding on Sunday, especially along east-facing shorelines in New England.

500wh.conus

An upper-level low pressure area has remained in place across the Northeast for the past several days. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Much of the last week to 10 days has been characterized by cool and damp conditions across the Northeast, thanks to an upper-level low pressure area that has been anchored in placed. That pattern is finally changing, and the result will be welcome news across the region. A ridge of high pressure will build in for much of the upcoming week, which means the clouds and below normal temperatures will be replaced by sunshine and near to above normal temperatures.

500wh.conus (1)

High temperatures across the Northeast have only been in the 50s and 60s for the past several days across much of the region, which is 5 to 10 degrees below normal. By mid-week, temperatures should reach the 70s and 80s across much of the region, which will be 5 to 10 degrees (or more) above normal.

gfs_t2max_neng_30

The GFS model is forecasting summer-like temperatures on Thursday. Will it verify? We’ll see. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Standard
Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: May 8-14, 2017

Let’s clear up a few misconceptions right off the bat. The upcoming week is not going to be a “washout”, nor is it going to rain all day, every day. Sure, it’s not going to be a week to head to the beach, but then again, most weeks in May usually aren’t anyways.

An upper-level low pressure area will remain in place across the Northeast for the next several days. As a result, we’ll be dealing with intervals of clouds and sunshine, occasional showers, and below normal temperatures. By Thursday, this upper low should finally start to pull away from the region. That’s good, right? Well, yes, but the problem is, another upper-low will settle right back in next weekend. This one may be accompanied by a coastal storm, with a chance for some steadier and heavier rain.

gfs.500wh.conus.2017050800-loop

Might as well grab a Snickers bar, because that upper-level low pressure area isn’t going anywhere for a while. Loop provided by Pivotal Weather.

As for the day-to-day weather, it’s rather simple, yet it’s not that simple. Confused? We’ll explain. With an upper-level low overhead, most of the days will be fairly similar. We may start off with some sunshine, clouds will develop, and some showers will pop up across the region. That’s the simple part. Trying to figure out when and where the showers develop each day? Not so simple. With no organized systems coming through, it’s not that east to pinpoint where any precipitation will be. Next weekend, however, is a different situation. It looks like a coastal storm may try to move in for Sunday, which could bring in some gusty winds along with cool temperatures and steadier and heavier rainfall.

With the cool temperatures and occasional precipitation, there is also the chance for some snow this week, mainly across the higher elevations of the Berkshires along with the Green and White Mountains. No, we’re not expecting any snow around here. However, this week 40 years ago was a much different story. On May 9, 1977, a very late season storm brought snow to this area, with more than a foot in some places.

May1977snowfall

Yes, it is still possible to get heavy snow around here in May, as we found out 40 years ago. Image provided by American Weather.

 

Monday: Some sunshine in the morning, then clouding up with a few showers possible. High 50-57.

Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low 32-39.

Tuesday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine, chance for a few showers. High 50-57.

Tuesday night:  Becoming mostly clear. Low 34-41.

Wednesday: Sunny early, then becoming partly to mostly cloudy with some showers possible. High 53-60.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with some showers likely. High 51-58.

Friday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for some showers. High 54-61.

Saturday: Partly to mostly cloudy with a few showers possible. Rain and gusty winds develop at night. High 53-60.

Sunday: Windy with periods of rain. High 43-50.

Standard