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How Sweet It Is!

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Happy May! As long as it doesn’t turn hot, this month is one of my favorites. How about you? On average in May, the Boston area high temperatures rise from 61 at the beginning to 72 at the end while the lows rise from 45 up to 55. For me, that is close to perfection because it is comfortable enough to be involved in outside work and sports activities and it is warm enough during the night so the furnace gets a break. With the longer hours of daylight and no need for air conditioning, the heating and electric bills drop substantially and that is a very good thing. Additionally, the trees become foliated and the flowering shrubs add lots of spectacular color. The lawns are green and growing but that means we have to deal with yard work and almost weekly mowing. Don’t you just love to hear the annoying loud noise generated by some of those large mowers? UGH! Other negatives include allergies to tree pollen and the arrival of disgusting black flies, ticks and mosquitoes. Oh well, we don’t live in Pleasantville because everything isn’t perfect. Nevertheless, overall, May is generally a marvelous month. Last May was warmer than average with near normal rainfall. Regarding high temperatures in May 2012, Boston had 9 days in the 50s, 9 days in the 60s, 9 days in the 70s and 4 days in the 80s.

May 2013 started off quite cool with some outlying lowland temperatures near freezing early this morning. It was actually chillier on parts of Cape Cod than it was at the Mount Washington Observatory. The folks on the big rock pile were treated to a dazzling Aurora Borealis aka. Northern Lights display in the predawn hours. The visibility was close to 100 miles and there was practically no wind which makes today perfect for mountain climbing. Wish I was up there. With the temperature just under 40 at the summit this morning, it indicates a warm air mass aloft so some surface locations will have a temperature rise of about 40 degrees today! The sunshine will be bright but some streamers and filaments of wispy clouds will be noticeable as the day progresses. Those will just add beauty to the sky and not interfere with the sunshine while some patches of low clouds over the Gulf of ME will blot out the sun occasionally as they skim over parts of the lower Cape and especially the Islands this morning as Nantucket’s fog burns off. Otherwise, today is almost a duplicate of yesterday in terms of temperatures as highs will range from the upper 50s to 60 or so on most of Cape Cod to the lower 60s at other coastline communities to the upper 60s a few miles inland up to 70-74 in Metro West and area west and north from there. It will not be quite so cool tonight with lows in the upper 30s to upper 40s from the countryside to the larger urban centers.

Tomorrow will turn out a bit warmer with highs closer to 75 or so inland and 60-65 along the coast. Patches of clouds will be showing up as we await the arrival of a backdoor cold front pressing in from the east-northeast late in the day. I am timing its passage around 8-9 pm in the Boston area. There is limited support for any shower development ahead of this front backing in from the Gulf of ME but I cannot rule out a possible brief shower or sprinkle in a few spots mainly inland and over the hills to the west. I think that it is more likely that post frontal passage low clouds and several hours of brisk, gusty northeasterly winds will materialize perhaps even with a touch of mist as a reinforcing zone of high pressure builds down from eastern Quebec in this omega blocking pattern. The low clouds over eastern MA will decrease Friday morning but may linger longer on Cape Cod until closer to midday before vanishing. One thing for sure is that Friday will be the odd day out of the next 7 because it will be the only really cool one. The morning northeasterly wind will be penetrating inland a large distance but that wind will abate inland by midday and remain brisk on the Cape into the afternoon.

Looking ahead, after Friday, that high pressure system will be our friend into next week as it stalls right over the region and the air mass resumes its warming. In fact, inland temperatures will recover to near 70 or so on Saturday to the middle 70s on Sunday and upper 70s on Monday and Tuesday with abundant bright sunshine. Yet the sea breeze will be a daily occurrence again so expect coastal readings in the lower 60s or so. By Tuesday, more of a south-southwesterly wind may prevail so east-facing coastal beaches would turn warmer. There are some signals this morning that the atmospheric block will be breaking down and shifting by the middle of next week. This means that weather systems will be returning to a more normal west to east movement. As this unfolds, an approaching frontal boundary will be closing in on our area late next Wednesday or Thursday to bring our first real chance of rain. Hopefully, it will be worthwhile. Until then, the dry conditions will exacerbate the fire danger and maintain the high pollen counts.

In review, locally, April 2013 averaged about a degree above the mean and it was much drier than average with more than a 2″ deficit of rainfall.  For the continental United States, it turned out to be the coldest April since 1997 and the third coldest since 1997. There were record-breaking snows from the upper Plains to the upper Mississippi Valley. A few spots out there broke records for the snowiest month ever! And… it is snowing in the parts of the Rockies this morning with Cheyenne checking in with 6″ and Denver about to get 3-6″ later today and a WINTER STORM WARNING is posted for the Minneapolis area tonight! Check this out- Amarillo, TX had a record high of 97 degrees yesterday and it will be snowing there tonight! OUCH! With this bizarre national pattern over the past several weeks, thankfully, the tornado count is way below the average. For April, this is the first year since 1993 that the number of tornadoes was below 100! Contrast that to April 2011 when a record 750 occurred. This compares to the average of 187 for the month.

Todd Gutner posts his blog early this evening and I shall return early tomorrow morning.

Make it a great day!

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