Weekend Outlook: September 25-28, 2020

Fall is officially here, but it certainly won’t feel like it through most of the weekend.

High pressure keeps us dry through Sunday. Unlike the last several days, we will be much warmer, thanks to west to southwest winds. In fact, by Sunday, it may even feel humid once again. It’s not going to be the Dog Days of summer, but highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s and dewpoints in the middle 60s aren’t too typical of the final weekend of September.

While it’s looking dry, it probably won’t be completely sunny through the weekend. What’s left of Tropical Storm Beta will be passing to our south Saturday. It may spread some clouds into the region, but for now, it looks like most of the rain will stay south of us, though a few of the models do try to sneak some showers in on Saturday. Since it’s been very dry lately, and we’re still in a drought, we’re going to follow the old forecaster’s adage “When in drought, leave it out.”

Virtually no rain fell over the past week, worsening drought conditions across New England. Image provided by the National Integrated Drought Information System

By Sunday night, things start to change. A large upper-level trough of low pressure will settle into the Great Lakes. At the surface, a cold front will move toward the region. Some showers are likely ahead of this front Sunday night into Monday. This isn’t a drought-busting rain by any means, but every little bit helps. A cooler, more unsettled pattern may settle in for next week, but the details aren’t that clear yet. We’ll focus more on that in our Weekly Outlook early Monday morning.

Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low 52-59.

Friday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 74-81.

Friday night: Clear skies. Low 53-60.

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 75-82.

Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low 57-64.

Sunday: Partly sunny, breezy, and warm. High 76-83.

Sunday night: Mostly cloudy with showers developing. Low 60-67.

Monday: Plenty of clouds with scattered showers likely, breezy. High 72-79.

Weekly Outlook: September 21-27, 2020

We’re starting to sound like a broken record, but little to no rainfall is expected again this week.

This week’s forecast is fairly simple, so we’ll keep it brief. Monday and Tuesday will feature dry and cool conditions with high pressure in control. Winds will pick up on Tuesday as the extratropical remains of Hurricane Teddy pass to our east and into Nova Scotia. It will create some very rough surf, so heading to the beach or out on a boat won’t be advisable until seas start to calm down later in the week.

Wave heights will be in excess of 40-50 feet east of the Cape and Islands by late Tuesday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

By Wednesday, the high slides offshore, and warmer weather settles in for Wednesday and Thursday. A weak disturbance crosses the region on Friday with some clouds and maybe a shower or two, but that’s about it. Dry weather returns next weekend.

Little to no rainfall is expected across the reion this week. Image provided by Weathermodels.com.

Monday: Sunshine and lots of it. High 59-66.

Monday night: Clear skies, though some high clouds may move into eastern areas late at night. Low 36-43, warmer in the urban areas and across the Cape Cod.

Tuesday: Sunshine filtered through high clouds, though some thicker clouds are possible across Cape Cod, becoming breezy, especially along the coast. High 63-70.

Tuesday night: Mostly clear. Low 49-56.

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny., breezy, and warmer. High 71-78.

Thursday: Sunshine and some afternoon clouds. High 72-79.

Friday: More clouds than sun with a chance for a few widely scattered showers. High 71-78.

Saturday: Plenty of sunshine. High 70-77.

Sunday: More sunshine. High 71-78.

Tropical Update: Naming Thunderstorms Again

A quick look at a map of the tropics shows that they remain active with four “named” storms out there. A deeper look shows that some of the storms aren’t as bad as they sound.

There are still several areas to watch in the Atlantic. Image provided by the Canadian Hurricane Center.

With the formation of Tropical Storm Beta in the western Gulf of Mexico, three “Tropical Storms” have formed on the same day in the Atlantic for the only the second time ever. Of course, the problem is, at least one of those storms should not have been named. In fact, it doesn’t even show up on the map above which shows the entire “tropical” Atlantic basin.

We’ll start with the most egregious system – Subtropical Storm Alpha. It formed just off the coast of Portugal this afternoon. It’s a cold-core storm, which means that it isn’t tropical. However, the National Hurricane Center claimed that it had acquired enough characteristics to become classified as “subtropical.” We claim that they’re padding the stats to break records, and we know that numerous other meteorologists think the same thing. As you can see on the satellite loop below, the center of the storm is already inland over Portugal. Monte Real Air Base along the coast of Portugal reported sustained winds of 36 mph with a gusts to 55 mph as the storm moved through. Winds only gusted to 20 mph or higher for 3 hours in that location. The storm will move into Spain and then dissipate in the next 12-24 hours.

This is a named storm? Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Next up is Tropical Storm Wilfred. Wilfred formed this morning over the central Atlantic. As of late Friday afternoon, it was centered about 735 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving toward the west-northwest at 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds were estimated to be near 40 mph. Most of the models aren’t bullish on the future of Wilfred, though the Hurricane Center thinks it may strengthen a little over the next 24 hours, but after that, conditions will be even less favorable for the system, and it will likely weaken. It will probably dissipate over open water late this weekend or early next week. It is not a threat to land.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm Wilfred. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

In the western Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Depression 22 has become Tropical Storm Beta. As of late Friday afternoon, it was centered about 180 miles east-southeast of the Rio Grande, moving toward the north-northeast at 9 mph. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph. There are no watches or warnings in effect for the coast of Mexico or Texas yet, but some will likely be issued tonight or early Saturday.

Model forecasts for the track of Tropical Storm Beta. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Beta is forecast to continue to strengthen over the weekend as wind shear decreases, and it could become a hurricane before the end of the weekend. As a ridge of high pressure builds in to the north, the storm should turn more towards the west, heading towards the Texas Coast. By late in the weekend, things get tricky. Another trough of low pressure will start to move into the nation’s midsection, turning Beta back towards the north and eventually northeast. The question is, when does that turn occur? Most of the models show it happening before the storm can get to the Texas coast, then it would likely parallel the coast, and possibly make landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border towards mid-week. This is the same area that was just devastated by Hurricane Laura a few weeks ago. Of course, a later turn would allow it to make landfall along the southern or south-central Texas coast, then head across inland portions of coastal Texas in a weakened state. Either way, very heavy rain is likely across parts of the southeastern Texas and into western Louisiana over the next 5-7 days.

Flooding is likely along the Texas coast and into southwestern Louisiana over the next week or so due to very heavy rainfall. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Finally, we get to the strongest storm of the bunch – Hurricane Teddy. As of late Friday afternoon, Teddy was centered about 800 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving toward the northwest at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 125 mph. Teddy will remain a formidable storm through the weekend, but some gradual weakening is expected. A turn more toward the north is likely, which should keep Teddy about 100-150 miles east of Bermuda late this weekend. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Bermuda as a precaution, but the most significant weather with the storm will stay well to the east.

Forecast track for Hurricane Teddy. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Once it is past Bermuda, Teddy will continue northward while weakening, but it also will start to transition into an extratropical storm. Although it will likely no longer be tropical, it will still bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island when it moves across these areas Tuesday into Wednesday. Wind gusts of up to 80 mph are possible along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, with gusts to 40-60 mph across the remainder of the region. Rainfall totals of 2-5 inches may result in some localized flooding.

Teddy may produce strong winds across Atlantic Canada by the middle of next week. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Elsewhere, there are two other areas of note in the Atlantic. The first one is the extratropical remains of former Hurricane Paulette. This system will drift southward west of the Azores over the next few days, and as it moves over some warmer water, it could reacquire some tropical characteristics. There is also another tropical wave that will roll off the west coast of Africa on Saturday. Conditions may be favorable for some slow development as it makes its way across the Atlantic over the next week or so.

Weekend Outlook: September 18-21, 2020

Astronomical fall officially begins Tuesday morning at 9:31am. As far as the weather is concerned, fall is going to start tomorrow.

Temperatures are going to turn much cooler, but we’re still not expecting much, if any, rain for the next several days, so our drought situation will continue to get worse. A cold front will move across the region tonight, but it will be starved for moisture, so aside from a few very widely scattered showers, we’re not expecting any rain for most of us. There may be a few appreciable showers along the South Coast and across the Cape, but for the rest of us, you’ll probably be able to count the number of raindrops that fall on one hand.

Little to no rainfall is expected through Monday. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

After that, high pressure starts to build in behind the front on Friday and remains with us right through the weekend. This will give us plenty of sunshine for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but it will remain on the cool side. Some places may not even reach 60 during the afternoons. What about at night? If you’ve got some plants outside, or still growing in the garden, it’s time to bring them inside. There’s a good shot at the first frost for portions of the region. Welcome to Autumn.

Saturday morning looks quite cool, but Sunday morning could be a few degrees cooler. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Finally, we’ll briefly talk about the tropics, though we’re expecting to write a much more detailed post about them tomorrow. What’s left of Sally will bring heavy rain to the Carolinas today, then move offshore, sending some clouds our way tonight and early Friday, but the rain should stay to the south. A disturbance in the western Gulf of Mexico may become a Tropical Depression later today or tomorrow. What impact it has on Mexico and/or Texas remains to be seen. Tropical Depression Vicky should dissipate in the Central Atlantic today or tomorrow. Then there’s Hurricane Teddy. Teddy is going to become a pretty powerful storm in the next day or two. The current track brings it very close to Bermuda early Monday. Bermuda just got hit hard by Paulette, and here were are talking about another hurricane just a week later. Beyond that, Teddy likely heads northward, and could impact parts of Nova Scotia towards mid-week unless it hooks more quickly and heads out to sea. Now, you may have heard some of the media talking yesterday about the potential for Teddy to head our way. This is because one model (which has performed very poorly for several months now) showed a track that brought the storm closer, or even made landfall in Maine. In fact, one unnamed Boston TV meteorologist went so far as to show a map based on this model with a wind forecast for the region for next Tuesday (we can think of several words to describe this, but we’ll settle for STUPID). This is the equivalent of showing a model forecast snowfall map on Wednesday for a storm that one model shows might hit us next Tuesday. (Wait, they already do that too) The odds of Teddy impacting our area are extremely low (maybe not zero, but close enough). We long for the days when our local TV meteorologists just came on and provided a weather forecast for the next 3-5 days, and didn’t try and hype up everything.

There are still three named storms out there, though two of them are now tropical depression. Image provided by the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Thursday night: Plenty of clouds, a few torrential sprinkles are possible, especially near the South Coast. Low 50-57.

Friday: Morning clouds, maybe even another raindrop or two across the Cape and the Islands, then skies start to clear out in the afternoon, but it will turn much cooler. High 58-65.

Friday night: Mostly clear and chilly. Low 37-44, a little warmer in the urban areas. A little patchy frost is possible in a few f the colder spots.

Saturday: Sunshine and possibly a few high clouds near the South Coast. High 57-64.

Saturday night: Clear and chilly again. Low 35-42, a little warmer in the urban areas. Some frost is possible, especially in the normally cooler locations.

Sunday: Wall-to-wall sunshine. High 56-63.

Sunday night: Clear skies, still chilly. Low 38-45, a little warmer in the urban areas.

Monday: Sunshine. Nothing but sunshine. High 58-65.

Five Storms in the Atlantic

With the formation of Tropical Storm Vicky this morning, we now have a record-tying five storms in the Atlantic, and there may be another one coming soon.

The Atlantic remains active with 5 named storms this morning. Loop provided by NOAA.

The most immediate threat to the US is Tropical Storm Sally. Sally continues to slowly strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico. As of late Monday morning, Sally was centered about 185 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, moving toward the west-northwest at 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm Sally. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Sally is expected to track northwestward across the northern Gulf of Mexico while strengthening later today into Tuesday. It will likely become a hurricane by tonight. Current forecasts call for landfall in either southeastern Louisiana or southern Mississippi on Tuesday. Hurricane and Storm Surge Warnings are in effect for much of the region. The location of landfall will have a significant impact on what conditions occur in some locations, namely storm surge. The highest storm surge is usually found near and to the right of where the center makes landfall. A landfall in southeastern Louisiana brings that storm surge to parts of the Louisiana coast and into Mississippi and Alabama. A track a bit farther east spares Louisiana from significant surge, but increases the threat to Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of the Florida Panhandle.

Significant storm surge is likely near and to the east of where the eye makes landfall.

While storm surge and strong winds are significant threats, rainfall will be the most significant issue residents of the Gulf Coast need to prepare for. Sally will be a slow-mover, and could even stall out near or just after landfall. We’ve seen plenty of slow-moving tropical systems dump torrential rainfall on places in recent years, and this system will likely do the same. Rainfall totals of 15-25 inches and possibly heavier will create widespread significant flooding. The heavy rain will also spread well inland, with flooding possible into parts of the Tennessee Valley later this week.

Torrential rainfall is likely along the Gulf Coast. Image provided by WeatherBell.

While Tropical Storm Sally is a threat to land, Hurricane Paulette impacted land earlier this morning, when it moved directly across the island of Bermuda. Paulette was centered about 65 miles north of Bermuda late this morning, moving toward the north at 14 mph. It has maximum sustained winds near 100 mph, and some additional strengthening is likely over the day or so as it turns more toward the northeast. Paulette is expected to head out into the open Atlantic over the next several days, presenting no additional threat to land.

Radar loop showing Hurricane Paulette approaching Bermuda Sunday night and early Monday. Loop provided by Brian McNoldy, Univ. of Miami, Rosenstiel School

In the central Atlantic, Tropical Depression Rene remains weak late this morning. It is centered about 1100 miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles, and maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 30 mph. Rene is expected to dissipate over open water in the next day or two.

Heading further eastward, we have Tropical Storm Teddy. As of late this morning, Teddy was centered about halfway between the Lesser Antilles and the Cabo Verde Islands. Maximum sustained winds were at 40 mph, and additional strengthening is likely. Teddy could become a hurricane by late Tuesday or Wednesday, and could strengthen into a rather potent storm by later this week. A turn toward the northwest should keep Teddy over open water, though residents of Bermuda should keep an eye on this storm, as it could present a threat to the island by late this weekend or early next week.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm Teddy. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Even farther to the east, Tropical Storm Vicky developed this morning. As of late morning, Vicky was centered about 350 miles west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving toward the northwest at 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph. Vicky is expected to turn more toward the west over the next day or two while slowly weakening. It will likely dissipate over open water later this week.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm Vicky. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

With the formation of Vicky, we now have 5 named storms in the Atlantic. This ties the record for the most named storms at once, originally set between September 11-14, 1971. During September 11-12, 1971, there was also a short-lived tropical depression in the Atlantic, so we had 6 active tropical cyclones, a record that still has not been broken.

As if five storms wasn’t enough. Another tropical wave moved off the coast of West Africa today. Conditions may be favorable for some development over the next few days as it heads westward into the Atlantic.

Weekly Outlook: September 14-20, 2020

When will it rain? The simple answer is not anytime soon. Little to no significant rain is expected for a while.

The week starts off with high pressure building into the region today. We’ll have a relative warm day, but northwest winds will start to usher cooler air into the region by late afternoon and evening. With the high moving across the region for Monday night and Tuesday, temperatures should be much cooler. The high then slides offshore, so we’ll start to warm back up again for Wednesday and Thursday.

Tuesday morning could be quite chilly, especially well north and west of Boston. Image provided by WeatherBell.

A cold front will approach the region late Thursday into Friday, producing a few showers. The wild card with this front is the remnants of Sally. If they get pulled far enough north, they could enhance the rainfall with the cold front, especially along the South Coast. However, the models don’t agree on how far north they will get. Given how the spring and summer have gone, we’re going to lean on the dry side again. High pressure then builds in for next weekend with cool and dry conditions.

Very little rainfall is expected over the next 10 days across the region. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Two things to also take note of for the next few days. With Hurricane Paulette in the Atlantic, we’ll have some rough conditions at the beaches, especially along the south coast, for a few days. High Surf Advisories are currently in effect through Tuesday evening. Also, with the fires out west, some of the smoke will make its way here, creating some hazy conditions at times, and some brilliant sunrises and sunsets.

Monday: Becoming mostly sunny and breezy. High 71-78.

Monday night: Clear and cool. Low 41-48, a little warmer in the urban areas.

Tuesday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 62-69.

Tuesday night: Clear skies. Low 45-52.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, breezy, and milder. High 72-79.

Thursday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for a few showers at night. High 75-82.

Friday: Chance for an early shower, then becoming partly to mostly sunny. High 62-69.

Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 59-66.

Sunday: Partly sunny. High 59-66.

The Peak of Hurricane Season is Here

On average, the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic is the middle of September. Right on cue, the 2020 season has seen a significant uptick to activity, with three active systems, a fourth likely to form in the next day or so, and possibly a fifth one a few days from now.

Tropical activity is picking up across the Atlantic. Loop provided by NOAA.

The most immediate threat to the US is Tropical Storm Sally. Tropical Depression 19 formed Friday evening just off the coast of southeastern Florida. The center of the system moved inland last night just south of Miami, producing wind gusts of up to 50 mph and heavy rain across south Florida. Early Saturday afternoon, the depression had strengthened into Tropical Storm Sally, and was centered about 35 miles south-southeast of Naples, Florida, moving toward the west at 7 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph.

Tropical Storm Sally will head towards the northern Gulf Coast over the next few days. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Sally is expected to track northwestward across the Gulf while strengthening over the weekend. It could become a hurricane by Monday. Current forecasts call for landfall in either southeastern Louisiana or southern Mississippi by early Tuesday. While storm surge and strong winds will obviously be a threat, rainfall will be the most significant issue residents of the Gulf Coast will need to prepare for. Sally will be a slow-mover, and could even stall out near or just after landfall. We’ve seen plenty of slow-moving tropical systems dump torrential rainfall on places in recent years, and this system will likely do the same. Rainfall totals of 10-20 inches and possibly heavier will create widespread significant flooding.

Torrential rainfall will produce flooding across parts of the Gulf Coast early next week. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Tropical Storm Sally isn’t the only storm that is threatening land at this time. Tropical Storm Paulette is centered about 510 miles southeast of Bermuda this afternoon, moving toward the northwest at 15 mph. It has maximum sustained winds near 70 mph, and it will likely become a hurricane later today or tonight. Additional strengthening is likely over the next couple of days as the storm continues northwestward before turning more toward the north. Unfortunately, that northerly turn will happen right around the time that Paulette reaches Bermuda’s longitude. A hurricane warning has been issued for Bermuda. Current forecasts call for the storm to pass very close to or right over the island late Sunday night and early Monday as a Category 2 hurricane. Paulette will also bring large waves to parts of the East Coast over the next several days, increasing the threat for rip currents at the beaches.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm Paulette. Image provided by the Bermuda Weather Service.

Bermuda is no stranger to tropical cyclones, as they are impacted by one per year on average. Last year, Hurricane Humberto produced wind gusts in excess of 120 mph on the island when the center passed just to the northwest. The last hurricane to make landfall in Bermuda was Hurricane Nicole in 2016. The only other storms to move directly across Bermuda in the 30 years before Nicole were Hurricane Fabian in 2003 and Hurricane Emily in 1987. One element of hurricanes that Bermuda doesn’t have to worry about is storm surge. Because the island is essentially a peak in the middle of the ocean, the water doesn’t have time to build up approaching the coast. The reef surrounding the island also helps to disperse some of the water before it reaches land. Humberto was a Category 3 storm that passed just northwest of the island last year, but only produced a storm surge of 2-3 feet. A similar storm impacting the US could produce a storm surge of 10-15 feet on average.

Forecast track for Tropical Depression Rene. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

In the eastern Atlantic, Tropical Depression Rene is slowly weakening this afternoon. It is centered about 1250 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, and maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 35 mph. Rene is expected to remain weak while meandering around in the central Atlantic for the next few days. Conditions won’t be that favorable, and it will likely dissipate over open water by early next week.

In addition to the 3 active systems, there are several other areas being watched for development this afternoon. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Even farther to the east, there are two other systems that are being monitored at this time. The first system is several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands this afternoon. This system will likely become a tropical depression in the next 12-24 hours. It should continue across the Atlantic with some gradual strengthening likely over the next several days. It will not impact any land areas for at least another 5 or 6 days, if at all. Some of the models show the potential for this to become a significant storm, so we’ll keep an eye on it.

Forecast models show the potential for 2 more systems to develop in the eastern Atlantic. Image provided by the University at Albany.

Another area of disturbed weather is crossing the Cabo Verde Islands this afternoon. It will bring squally conditions to the islands today and tonight. There is some potential for this system to develop over the next few days as well. Once it moves past the islands, it will likely not be a threat to any land areas.

Weekend Outlook: September 11-14, 2020

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – we need rain, quite a bit of it in fact. We’ll get a little this weekend, but not much.

We’re getting some rain today and tonight as a cold front moves in from the northwest and a stream of tropical moisture moves up from the south. While some of this rain may be heavy, the bulk of the heavy rain won’t impact much of the region. The rain should end tonight from northwest to southeast as the cold front pushes through and then offshore.

The longer we go without significant rain, the worse the drought gets. Image provided by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Behind the front high pressure builds in on Friday with much cooler and less humid conditions. This is the same airmass the produced record lows across the nation’s mid-section over the past few days, but obviously, it will be modified significantly by the time it arrives here. Still, highs will only be in the upper 60s and 70s on Friday and Saturday, with nighttime lows dropping into the 40s in some spots.

Normal low temperatures for the middle of September are in the lower to middle 50s. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

By Sunday, we’ll start to warm up again as another cold front approaches from the west. This front will produce some showers and maybe a rumble of thunder, but the day won’t be a washout, as most of the shower activity should hold off until late in the day or at night. Some of the models are hinting at the possibility of some heavy rain with this front, but we’re not buying that at the moment. Of course, many of us will be on our couches Sunday afternoon watching the start of the NFL season. For the Patriots game, kickoff conditions should feature mostly cloudy skies, temperatures in the lower to middle 70s, and southerly winds at 5-10 mph with gusts to 20 mph. Any rain should hold off until after the game.

The Cam Newton Era will begin under mostly cloudy skies on Sunday.

Any showers will comes to an end Monday morning as the front moves through, then skies will clear out once again. Gusty northwest winds will usher cooler air back in, but most of the day should remain fairly mild.

At least one model thinks parts of the region may receive no rain at all Sunday night or Monday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Thursday night: Periods of rain and showers gradually ending. Low 58-65.

Friday: Skies gradually become partly to mostly sunny. High 67-74.

Friday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 47-54, a little warmer in some of the urban areas.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, though some clouds may start to move in late in the day. High 65-72.

Saturday night: Becoming partly to mostly cloudy. Low 48-55, a little warmer in some of the urban areas.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy, showers develop late in the day. High 70-77.

Sunday night: Cloudy with a chance of showers, possibly a rumble of thunder. Low 60-67.

Monday: Showers end early, then skies gradually clear out, breezy. High 72-79.

Record Heat and Cold, Snowstorms, Droughts, and Tropical Storms – What’s Next?

September is when we start to transition from Summer to Winter, but this September is starting off with a bang.

Intense heat has been common across much of the West for the past few days. Temperatures well over 100 degrees were widespread during Labor Day Weekend, especially across California, with numerous records set. One location, Richmond, on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, reached 107 degrees Monday afternoon, tying their all-time record, originally set on September 15, 1971. Several other locations set monthly records for September as well. The worst of the heat has passed, but it will remain hot on Tuesday, with highs likely topping 100 across much of interior California and the Desert Southwest, possibly setting a few more records. Temperatures should gradually cool down a little more as we get toward the middle and latter portion of the week.

Another hot day is likely across interior California on Tuesday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Heat was also common across the Plains and Rocky Mountains over the weekend, but big changes are developing thanks to a strong cold front. Denver set a record high of 97 on Sunday, then reached 93 on Monday. On Tuesday, that 93 will get reversed, with a daytime high closer to 39 (The high for the calendar day will be the 46-degree reading at midnight). On top of that, accumulating snow is likely. Even by Denver standards, this is quite early in the year for snow. Their all-time record for earliest snow is September 3, 1961, but on average Denver doesn’t see its first flakes until October 18. This won’t be the 1st time that Denver hit 90 one day and then had measurable snow the next. On September 12, 1993, Denver recorded a high of 92 degrees, and on September 13, they had 5.4″ of snow.

While a few inches of snow are likely in Denver and onto the adjacent High Plains of eastern Colorado and western Nebraska, heavier snow is likely across the mountains on Colorado and Wyoming. Across the higher elevations, snowfall totals in excess of a foot are likely. While the snow will likely last a while in the mountains, at the “lower” elevations on the Plains, it will disappear quickly. High temperatures in Denver will be back into the 60s by Friday, and near 80 by the end of the weekend.

Heavy snow is likely in the higher elevations of the Rockies. Image provided by the College of DuPage.

While the snow will get a lot of the headlines, the cold air behind the front will be making headlines of its own. The first frost and freeze of the season is likely across parts of the Dakotas, Montana, and northern Minnesota Tuesday and/or Wednesday morning, with lows in the upper 20s and 30s. The cold air will continue to push southward across the Great Plains during the day on Tuesday, with numerous record lows expected Wednesday morning as far south as the Texas Panhandle. The cold air will eventually spread eastward, but will be modified significantly before it reaches the Eastern United States.

Record lows are likely across the Plains and the Rockies Wednesday morning. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

While plenty of (frozen) precipitation is expected across the Rockies, the lack of precipitation is causing problems across the Northeast, specifically New England. Aside from a few showers with a cold front on Thursday, generally dry weather is expected across much of New England this week, and things don’t look that promising for much of next week either. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as precipitation has been generally below to well below normal across the region since the Spring. In some areas, the amount of rain has only been around 50-60% of normal since April 1. Drought conditions have developed across nearly all of New England, and for a good portion of the region, it is now considered a severe drought. What the region needs is a series of systems that can produce moderate rainfall to help alleviate the drought (too much at once won’t help that much), but prospects for that aren’t promising at this time. In fact, rainfall looks to remain below normal for much of the remainder of September.

Drought conditions are worsening across New England. Image provided by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Meanwhile, as we approach the climatological peak of hurricane season, the Atlantic is once again getting more active. Tropical Storms Paulette and Rene both developed on Monday in the central and eastern Atlantic respectively. Paulette is expected to remain a tropical storm for the next several days while remaining over open water. It is not expected to be a threat to land. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Rene moved into the Cabo Verde Islands Monday night and early Tuesday, producing heavy rain and gusty winds. It will likely strengthen over the next couple of days, possibly becoming a hurricane later this week. Once it pulls away from the Cabo Verde Islands, it is also expected to remain over open water for much of this week, presenting no additional threat to land.

Satellite loop showing Tropical Storms Paulette and Rene in the central and eastern Atlantic. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Those systems aren’t the only ones in the Atlantic that are being watched. An area of low pressure a couple of hundred miles west-southwest of Bermuda is expected to drift westward or northwestward over the next day or two. Some development of the system is possible. It may bring some rainfall into parts of the Carolinas and Southeast later this week. The other area that is being watched isn’t immediately apparent right now, as it is still over western Africa. A tropical wave is expected to emerge from the west coast of Africa later this week. Forecast models show the potential for this wave to develop rather quickly once it moves into the Atlantic. It could threaten the Cabo Verde Islands over the weekend.

The peak of hurricane season is during the middle to latter half of September. Given how active this season has been so far, there will likely be more systems developing. There are only 4 names left on this list for this season – Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred. Once the list is exhausted, the Greek alphabet is used. This has only happened once before – in 2005. During that season, there were 28 named storms of which 15 became hurricanes.

Weekly Outlook: September 7-13, 2020

The late great Dick Albert loved to used abbreviations on his forecasts maps, and we’re going to invoke one of his more common ones for this week’s forecast – MOTS (More Of The Same).

Stop us if you heard this before – we’ll start the week with high pressure in control, providing us with ideal cookout weather for Labor Day – sunshine, warm temperatures, and moderate humidity. As the high slides off to the east, temperatures and humidity levels will creep up a bit for Tuesday and Wednesday.

On average, high temperatures should be in the middle 70s for the middle of September. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

We’ll have a cold front move across the region on Thursday, bringing us some showers and thunderstorms, but right now they don’t look that heavy, so the drought we’re in will likely continue to worsen. High pressure builds in behind that front with cooler and drier conditions for Friday and Saturday. Sunday doesn’t look as good, with clouds and some showers possible, but given the recent performance by the models beyond a few days, we’re skeptical as to how wet it will be. We should have a better idea by the time we get to our Weekend Outlook on Thursday.

While we may see some rain on Thursday and possibly Sunday, we’re not expecting a lot. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Sunshine and plenty of it. High 75-82.

Monday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 57-64.

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 80-87.

Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 59-66.

Wednesday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 80-87.

Thursday: More clouds than sun with some showers or thunderstorms possible. High 79-86.

Friday: Becoming partly to mostly sunny and much cooler. High 68-75.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 67-74.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. High 71-78.

On a separate note, while our weather has been, and will continue to be fairly quiet, there is some wild weather going on in other parts of the nation. Much of California and the Southwest has been baking in some extreme heat over the weekend. San Francisco set a record high when it reached 100 downtown yesterday and 102 at the airport. The normal high for the day is only 74. Even wilder weather will invade the Rockies and the Plains in the coming days. Denver reached 97 yesterday, tying their record for the day. They should reach 90 again on Monday ahead of a strong cold front. Behind that front, they could receive 6 or more inches of snow on Tuesday. Denver’s record for earliest snow on record is September 3, 1961. On average, they don’t see snow until October 18. In the higher elevations of the Rockies, snowfall totals 1-2 feet or more are possible.

A significant snowstorm is likely in the Rockies tonight and Tuesday. Image provided by the College of DuPage.

We also have a new tropical depression in the Atlantic. Tropical Depression 17 developed last evening. It will likely become Tropical Storm Paulette today, but will remain over open water for the next several days, presenting no threat to land. Another wave in the eastern Atlantic could become a tropical depression or storm in the next day or two as well. The climatological peak of hurricane season is still about 10-14 days away, so the uptick in activity is not a surprise at all.