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


BOSTON (CBS) — This is getting ridiculous. How long must we wait before it gets warm? Where is the sun? Why do we live here? Can’t you do something about this?

Just a small sample of the emails, tweets and random chatter coming into the weather office over the last several weeks. Spring hasn’t been this wet and chilly since. . . well, since last year! It seems we get fooled every March and April. The snow season comes to an end and hope “springs” eternal. We get a day or two in the 70s and we forget the pain and suffering from last year’s spring. . . and the year before that. . . and the year before that.

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Let me remind you, spring isn’t all that nice here in New England. It has a lot to do with that giant body of water to our east (the Atlantic Ocean). Ocean water temperatures are cold to end winter and they are very slow to warm up. Therefore, anytime we get a wind that even remotely sniffs the ocean, be it a nor’easter or just a little seabreeze on a calm day, it is going to be chilly here. Take today for instance: Highs reached into the 60s in Connecticut while Boston was stuck in the mid 40s, mirroring the ocean temperatures. Starting to re-think that million dollar ocean front property?

But, this year it seems we have taken the typical New England spring misery to a whole new level.

Chew on these Boston stats:

April had more days with measurable rain (21) than any other month ever recorded in Boston’s history – that is more than 1,700 months!

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Rain has fallen in Boston on 13 of the last 15 days.

Rain has fallen on the last 6 weekend days.

The last full weekend without any rain in Boston was March 16-17.

Oh and rain is in the forecast for parts of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yikes.

So what gives? Why the gloomier than normal spring with a side of extra gloom this year?

There are a few things atmospheric “problems” to blame.

#1) We are living in a battlezone

Ask anyone down south about this spring and they will tell you it has been glorious. Warmer than normal temperatures have persistently blanketed most of the southeastern portion of the United States.

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Just the opposite, folks in the upper Midwest and more specifically the upper Plains have been freezing their buns off and in many cases still dealing with snow!

We here in New England have been sitting right in between the two anomalous springs. . . and rule number one of meteorology, where cold and warm air masses clash you get stormy/wet weather. It’s not only us, the storm track has been drenching states from Texas to Illinois in the last 30 days or so.

#2 High latitude blocking

Say what? Might sound complex but it is actually quite simple. You may remember from some of those really snowy or stormy patterns of the past, we blamed the Greenland Block, or some sort of atmospheric blocking – same idea here. There has been a semi-permanent low pressure area sitting over eastern Canada and the northern Atlantic Ocean. When the atmosphere gets blocked up, patterns lock in. Some benefit from these types of patterns, others do not (and it seems like more often than not we are taking it on the chin).

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This block has essentially clogged up the atmospheric drain and prevented that warm, sunny airmass of the Southeast from coming north. So, while they are basking in summer-like warmth and enjoying the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., we are sitting at the Little League park wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate to stay warm.

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So, WHEN WILL IT WARM UP?

Well in the short term, early next week looks like a bit of a respite. There is a chance, that for a few days we will get some dry, sunny weather, perhaps even approaching 70 degrees! BUT, and I cannot make that but big enough, the overall pattern (described above) is likely to persist for the foreseeable future. It certainly looks like the first half of May (at least) will stay wet and active without any long periods of warmth, hard to say beyond that. I can assure you that summer WILL arrive at some point and this will all be a distant, soggy memory. But for now, keep that rain gear handy and stay positive! 8 p.m. sunsets are just a few weeks away. . . let’s hope we get to enjoy some of them soon.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

Comments (2)
  1. People complaining about lack of warmth in Apr are ignorant of climate norms The mean was a few degrees warmer than the average. Warmth typical does not arrive until late May but it reached 90 F early that month in 2018