King Tides, Indian Summer, Record-High Temps Make For Busy Weather Week

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) – If you took a quick look at the seven-day forecast and thought this was going to be a quiet weather week, think again!

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Likely the first thing you noticed as you walked out the door this morning was the lack of cold. It’s not often you get a stretch of days in mid-to-late October when you can leave the house without a jacket. Well, you can stow away the cold weather gear for now and, heck, even grab a pair of shorts! Temperatures for the next several days will feel more like August and September with daily highs peaking in the 70s and 80s.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Many have inquired if this will constitute an “Indian Summer”…well, that depends on who you ask. Google “Indian Summer” and you will find a range of definitions and qualifications. I choose to go with the simplest one from the National Weather Service: “An unseasonably warm period near the middle of autumn, usually following a substantial period of cool weather.” I would say that temperatures in the 80s a few days after we had a widespread frost in the ‘burbs and lows in the 20s and 30s would qualify–check and check.

We actually have a legit chance at setting a record or two this week. Our best shot will be on Tuesday. Currently we are forecasting a high of 83, which would top the old record of 82 degrees back in 1947. Wednesday’s record of 84 degrees back in 1945 may be a bit tougher to tackle, but not impossible–our current forecast for Wednesday is 80. It has been more than three weeks since Boston hit 80 (September 23), and chances are, these could be our last 80-degree days for a long time.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Looking for more water cooler weather fodder? I bet your friends and co-workers won’t be aware of this one. We are currently experiencing “King Tides!” These are among the highest tides of the year, and they will be occurring Monday through Wednesday this week. More specifically:

Monday: 12:31 p.m., 12.2 feet
Tuesday: 1:21 p.m., 12.3 feet
Wednesday: 2:13 p.m., 12.1 feet

First and foremost, we should be thankful that we don’t have any major east coast storminess this week. A nor’easter-type storm could have had devastating consequences with tide levels this high.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

So what causes the King Tides? In general, tides are caused by the gravitational pull between the Sun, Moon, and Earth and their relative locations with respect to each other. This gravitational force is greatest when the Moon is at perigee (closest to Earth in its orbit, which it currently is) and when the Earth is at perihelion (closest to the sun, which occurs in January).

Long story short, these are among the highest astronomical tides of the year…and even without any significant weather going on, there will still be some minor coastal flooding on the typical vulnerable shore roads.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Ok, one last thing, saved the best for last…NOT! Today is a landmark day with two daylight milestones being reached. First, the sunrise today was at exactly 7 a.m., the first 7 a.m. or later sunrise since late January. And then the real killer–sunset tonight is at 5:58 p.m., our first pre-6 p.m. sunset of the season. We gotta wait until next March 11th before our sun will set after 6 p.m. again…major ugghhhh. Time to adopt a new timezone!

So there you have it. Never a dull moment in the weather office!

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ


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