Weekly Outlook: June 25 – July 1, 2018

You’ve heard us say it in some shape or form before – the computer models are tools that help with forecasting, but they shouldn’t be used as the entire forecast. They all have limitations and biases, and none of them are perfect. There are plenty of amateurs out there across Facebook and Twitter (we won’t name names) that think that because they can read the models, that they can forecast the weather too. This is especially true in the winter with snowstorms. So, why are we bringing this up now? For the past several days, many of the models have been forecasting a heat wave to settle into New England around the start of July. Some of the models aren’t going for just any heat wave though, they are going for an extreme heat wave. How extreme? Here’s an example:

GFS forecast from early Sunday morning for high temperatures next Monday – July 2. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Yes, that is a real model forecast for high temperatures, not heat index, for next Monday, from a trusted model. Obviously, this is utterly ridiculous. A high of 112 in Taunton? 111 in Lawrence? 108 in Boston? To put some perspective on that. Boston’s all-time record high is 104, set on July 4, 1911. The Massachusetts state record is 107, set in August 2, 1975 in New Bedford and Chester. We’re supposed to believe that these records are going to get beaten by 4-5 degrees? Yes, we expect it to get hot next weekend, but not THIS hot. We’ll get to how hot a little later in this forecast.

The week actually starts off with low pressure pulling away from the region and high pressure building in. However, an upper-level disturbance will be moving through, so we’ll still have plenty of clouds and maybe even a few showers today. We should clear out for Tuesday as high pressure settles in, with seasonable temperatures.

Another system starts to approach on Wednesday, with showers and some thunderstorms likely for late Wednesday into Thursday. This is a good thing, because we need the rainfall. We haven’t had a lot of rain since the beginning of May, and we’re starting to head towards a drought if that trend continues.

Rainfall across most of New England and New York is well below normal over the past 60 days. Image provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

High pressure builds in behind that system on Friday, and the warmup begins. High pressure builds in both at the surface and aloft, which will allow temperatures to skyrocket as we flip the calendar from June to July. No, we don’t expect widespread readings of 100 degrees or more, but much of the region should get into the 90s, perhaps well into the 90s. Could a few locations reach 100? Sure, it’s possible.

With a large ride of high pressure setting up in the Northeast, some hot weather is expected next weekend. Image provided by Tropical Tidbits.

It won’t be just blue skies and blazing heat though. With the ridge of high pressure centered just to our west, we’ll have northwest winds aloft. As complexes of thunderstorms form in the Plains and the Midwest, they’ll ride up and over that ridge, and head towards New England. Now, they may dry up before reaching here, but they may also send cloudcover our way, which could help to keep temperatures down a bit. This is exactly what happened last Monday, when most of the models and the TV talking heads were going for highs in the upper 90s, and most places stayed in the upper 80s to lower 90s (our forecast of 90-97 north and west of Boston worked out fairly well as most places made 90-92, but nobody got close to the 97). We also could have some showers and thunderstorms develop around here each afternoon as well, with a hot and humid airmass in place. Depending on how far west that ridge sets up, we may also have to contend with a backdoor cold front bringing an abrupt end to the heat across eastern areas, especially towards Tuesday or Wednesday. These are details that we’ll worry about later in the week, as things become a bit more clear. For now, just get ready to fire up the BBQ, clean the pool, and stock up on sunscreen, because you’re going to need it by the weekend.

Monday: Partly sunny, chance for a few showers, maybe even a rumble of thunder. High 70-77, perhaps a little cooler along the coast.

Monday night: Becoming mostly clear. Low 48-55.

Tuesday: Sunshine dimmed by afternoon high clouds. High 74-81.

Tuesday night: Becoming partly to mostly cloudy. Low 54-61.

Wednesday: Plenty of clouds with a few sunny breaks, showers and thunderstorms possible late in the day and especially at night. High 75-82.

Thursday: Cloudy and breezy with scattered showers and thunderstorms. High 73-80.

Friday: Becoming partly to mostly sunny, slight chance for a shower or thunderstorm.  High 85-92.

Saturday: Plenty of sun with a few clouds around, slight chance for a shower or thunderstorm. High 88-95, cooler along the south coast.

Sunday:  Sunshine and some high clouds. High 91-98, cooler along the south coast.

Weekly Outlook: June 18-24, 2018

The heat is definitely on, and so is the humidity, but it’s not going to last. Oh don’t worry, we’re not looking at any “cool” weather, just a return to seasonably warm temperatures.

Some record highs may be broken today across the Northeast as temperatures soar into the 90s. Image provided by WeatherBell.

High pressure is sitting off the East Coast, but a cold front will start to approach from the northwest today. In between those two, southwest winds will pump hot and humid air into the region. Temperatures should soar into the 90s this afternoon away from the south coast. When you factor in the humidity, with dewpoints in the 60s to lower 70s, the heat index will rise into the 90s or lower 100s this afternoon, especially in the northern and western suburbs of Boston. So, if you’ve got outdoor plans, drink plenty of water, wear some sunscreen, and try to get inside to the air conditioning as much as possible.

The heat index will be well into the 90s and lower 100s across much of the area this afternoon. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

If you do have outdoor plans today, we have another piece of advice for you – keep an eye to the sky. With that cold front approaching from the northwest, showers and thunderstorms will likely develop ahead of it this afternoon and evening. Some of the storms may contain heavy downpours and gusty winds along with frequent lightning. Getting a sunburn from being outside too long on a hot day is bad enough, but it’s nothing compared to being struck by lightning. As the saying goes “When thunder roars, stay indoors.”

WRF model forecast showing the forecast timing of the arrival of showers and thunderstorms today. Loop provided by Weathermodels.com

The front finally pushes through early Tuesday morning, then high pressure builds in later Tuesday into Wednesday with drier and more seasonable conditions. However, another weak system may spread more clouds and possibly some showers into the region, especially south of Boston, Wednesday night into early Thursday. This shouldn’t be anything major, and we’re not completely convinced that there will be any rainfall at all. Since we’re not ready to rule it out either, we figured we’d mention the possibility.

This brings us to Thursday, specifically Thursday morning – 6:07am to be precise. That is the time of the summer solstice, the beginning of astronomical summer, and it should end up as a rather nice summer day. We may have some clouds around in the morning, but with high pressure building in, sunshine will return during the day. In fact, high pressure should remain in control through Saturday. Sunday, however, will probably not be as nice. Low pressure will pass to the north, bringing another cold front across the region. This will likely bring us more showers and some thunderstorms.

We’re not looking at a lot of rainfall through Sunday evening, with less than half an inch for much of the region, which won’t do much to slow down the developing drought. Image provided by weather.us

Monday: A mix of sun and clouds, breezy, showers and thunderstorms are possible late in the day. Humid. High 90-97, except 79-89 along the south coast and a short distance inland.

Monday night: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Low 66-73.

Tuesday: Some early clouds, then becoming partly to mostly sunny and less humid. High 79-86.

Tuesday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 54-61.

Wednesday: A sunny start, some clouds move in late in the day. A few showers are possible at night, mainly south of Boston. High 80-87, cooler right along the south coast.

Thursday: Chance for an early shower, then skies become partly to mostly sunny. High 75-82, cooler right along the coast.

Friday: Plenty of sunshine with just some high clouds in the afternoon. High 77-84.

Saturday: Sunshine fades behind increasing and thickening clouds in the afternoon. High 78-85.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers and possibly some thunderstorms. High 74-81.

Weekly Outlook: June 11-17, 2018

Perception vs Reality. In many cases, they are not the same, and in fact, are quite opposite. For example:

Perception: Since joining the Red Sox, David Price has been a mediocre pitcher.
Reality: In two and a half years in a Red Sox uniform, David Price is 30-16 with a 3.87 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and has a 376/104 K/BB ratio in 379 innings. That is much better than mediocre (but not what people expected for a guy making what he does).

Another example, this one is more to the point we’re making:

Perception: May was a very wet month around here.
Reality: Rainfall was actually below to well below normal around here.

Rainfall was below normal across nearly all of New England during the month of May. Image provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Now that we’ve got that fact established, we can also tell you that there’s not much rainfall in this week’s forecast. Many of you will rejoice at that news, but your lawns and gardens will not. It’s not a full-fledged drought yet, but it’s the start of one. The longer we go without significant rainfall, the more likely it is that we settle into a drought.

The latest drought monitor update shows abnormally dry conditions from northern Massachusetts into southern Maine. Image provided by the US Drought Monitor.

The week starts off with high pressure building in from the north, bringing sunshine into the region. However, with a frontal system stalled out well to the south, we’ll still have some high clouds around, especially south of the Mass Pike. With the high to the north, we’ll have easterly winds across the region. Since water temperatures are still only in the 50s to lower 60s, that means coastal locations will still quite cool, with warmer temperatures the farther inland you get. The high slides off to the east on Tuesday, so sunshine will continue, but a wind shift into the southwest will result in a warmer day across most of the area.

By Wednesday, a cold front approaches the region, with clouds returning along with some showers and thunderstorms. This is not going to be the widespread heavy rain that we actually need. In fact , many locations might not see any rain at all from this system. Skies will be partly sunny behind the front on Thursday, before another weak front moves through. This one will pass through with little fanfare, as it will be starved for moisture, with only a few stray showers possible. High pressure then builds in for Friday and the weekend with sunshine and another warming trend.

9-km ECMWF USA Cities Boston Total Precipitation 168
Some of the models aren’t too enthusiastic about our chances for rainfall this week. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Monday: A mix of sunshine and clouds. High 66-73, coolest along the coast.

Monday night: Clear skies. Low 46-53.

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy.  High 75-82, cooler along the south coast.

Tuesday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 54-61.

Wednesday: Becoming partly to mostly cloudy and breezy with some showers or thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening. High 76-83, cooler along the south coast.

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny and breezy. High 78-85.

Friday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 72-79, cooler along the coast.

Saturday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 79-86.

Sunday: Plenty of sunshine. High 81-88, cooler along the coast.

Beyond that, a few of the models are showing the possibility that next week could start off with 1 or 2, maybe even 3 days with temperatures near or above 90 degrees around here.

At least one model is showing some real heat moving in early next week. We’ll see if that forecast changes at all in the coming days. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Weekly Outlook: June 4-10, 2018

Summer is here, or it will be soon. It depends on how you define summer. Climatological summer (also known as meteorological summer) started on June 1. Astronomical summer starts with the summer solstice on June 21. No matter how you define summer, this week is going to start off miserably, by almost any definition.

An upper-level low pressure system will cross the Northeast during the first half of the week. That’s probably not going to lead to beach weather. Image provided by Tropical Tidbits.

The week starts off with low pressure moving off the Mid-Atlantic coastline early Monday, moving northeastward, passing south and east of New England during the day. This will bring us rain, possibly heavy at times, along with gusty winds and unseasonably cool conditions. It will feel more like the middle of April than early June. We do need the rain, as May was rather dry, but that probably won’t make you feel much better if you need to venture outside on Monday. High temperatures will only be in the 50s (possibly even upper 40s), which is 15 to 25 degrees below normal. Add in winds of 10-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph, especially along the coast, and well, Baseball Hall-of-Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley said it best – “Yuck.”

High temperatures in the 50s will likely set new records for the lowest high temperature for the day. Afternoon readings may even be in the 40s across parts of the area. Image provided by WeatherBell.

The coastal low pulls away Monday night and the rain tapers off, so everything gets better on Tuesday, right? As ESPN college football announcer Lee Corso is fond of saying:


Sure, the system will pull away, but an upper-level low pressure system will slowly move across the Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday. As impulses of energy rotate around that upper-level, another surface low-pressure system may even spin up. Whether that happens or not, we’re looking at plenty of clouds along with more showers and drizzle into midweek. Temperatures will remain below normal, but not as chilly as today will be.

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Most of the region could see 1-2 inches of much-needed rain between Monday and Wednesday. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

By Thursday we really do see some improvement. The upper-level low moves out, and high pressure starts to build in, both aloft and at the surface. That means sunshine returns, and temperatures get back closer to normal. Friday should also feature sunshine and warm temperatures. That brings us to the weekend.

Saturday may actually turn out to be a decent day, though a cold front will move through, with some showers or even a thunderstorm possible. The front stalls out just south of the region later in the day, and a wave of low pressure will ride along it. Right now, it looks like that wave will bring in more rain and cool conditions Saturday night into Sunday. Obviously, this isn’t locked in yet, but given the way weekends have gone for the past month or so, would you really be shocked if we had another less-than-optimal weekend? We will break that pattern eventually.

Will the rest of summer feature weather like this? Will it be a scorcher? Or somewhere in between. Our colleagues at Hometown Forecast Services (official employer of StormHQ), issued their summer outlook a few days ago. If you’re interested, give it a read.

Monday: Cloudy and windy with periods of rain, heavy at times. High 50-57.

Monday night: Mostly cloudy, winds diminishing in the evening. Low 44-51.

Tuesday: Some sunshine early, but clouds quickly return by midday, with some showers popping up in the afternoon. Breezy at times. High 62-69, a little cooler along the coast.

Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy and breezy with occasional showers and drizzle. Low 45-52.

Wednesday: Morning clouds and drizzle, some sunshine may develop during the afternoon, still breezy, especially south of Boston. High 57-64.

Thursday: A mix of sun and clouds, breezy at times. High 68-75.

Friday: A sunny start, clouds increase during the afternoon. High 74-81.

Saturday: Some sunshine early, but clouds thicken up during the day. Rain and showers possible at night. High 75-82, cooler right along the coast.

Sunday: Cloudy with showers possible. High 68-75.