The ante has been raised
From Storm Prediction Center:
Day 1 Convective Outlook
NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
1112 AM CDT Sat Jun 30 2018
Valid 301630Z - 011200Z
...THERE IS AN ENHANCED RISK OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS OVER PARTS OF
THE CENTRAL PLAINS...AND OVER PORTIONS OF NEW YORK...VERMONT...NEW
Scattered severe thunderstorms are expected from the central Plains
to the Upper Midwest this afternoon and evening, as well as across
parts of northern New York and northern New England.
Fast west-northwesterly flow aloft extends across Ontario/Quebec
into the northeast states today, with the core of 500mb flow
exceeding 60 knots. Water vapor imagery shows multiple subtle
embedded shortwave troughs within the flow that will track into
NY/New England later today, posing a risk of severe storms. The
scenario with highest potential is for fast-moving cluster(s) of
storms currently north/northwest of Georgian Bay to track eastward
into parts of NY/VT/NE/ME this afternoon and early evening.
Forecast soundings in this region show fast, deep westerly flow and
moderate CAPE values. A severe bowing complex is possible, capable
of rather widespread strong/damaging wind gusts. Therefore, have
upgraded to ENH risk for this region.
The weather could get real interesting for the southwestern half of the state this evening. It's rather rare we get an "enhanced" outlook, so it is important to define it:
The chance for a severe outbreak is good. The players are all on the table. Instability from the upper level energy riding along the heat dome entering an area with plenty of humidity and convective energy (CAPE) that is just looking for a spark to touch off the gas can.
That spark comes this evening as the sun goes down. Cold air moves in aloft against the very warm surface temperatures. Heat rises and with the upper level energy, then storms break out.
It's these bow structure type set ups that are the most concerning. These types of storms bring damaging wind, flooding downpours, plenty of lightning, potential for large hail and could spin off tornadoes.
While the percentages appear low, it is this type of forecast that makes it a bit ominous. It is safe to say there is a high chance for scattered areas of wind damage. This could cause damage to structures and to power lines. The last time the region had an outbreak like this a year ago, it turned into a mess is in areas. This has potential to do that also.
Again, it's rare that we see 15% hail potential over the region. That is a clear indicator that some scattered areas could see damage from hail stones in the 1-2" range.
Isolated tornado(es) possible
Anytime there is a bow structured system, there is always the chance for funnel cloud rotation to occur.
What you need to know
What is to understand that there is POTENTIAL for this to happen. There are enough indications that it COULD occur. These are complex systems, much has to go right for it to happen. It would be wise to PREPARE by tidying up the yard of anything that could go airborne in case it does happen. I suspect severe thunderstorm watches could be posted at anytime in regards to this event. Understand that a WATCH means possible and a WARNING means likely.
If you are reading this from Jackman to Bar Harbor and all points west inside the state boundary, you need to stay on alert. These night time storms of this type can be dangerous, and that is what is going on here.
Bust potential with these systems can be quite high, but betting on a bust could cause injury or death if on the wrong end of the bet.
The storm threat will diminish as we head into daylight on Sunday morning.
Stay in touch with the National Weather Service in Gray for western and southern Maine and Caribou for eastern and northern Maine.
Prepare, and stay safe.
The heat of summer
My hope is everyone is prepared for the heat on the way. Although there is a slight modification to the forecast that I will discuss, it will get uncomfortable for many. Check in with your family, friends, neighbors and keep close watch on young children, our beloved senior citizens, and the pets. I suspect cooling centers will move into operation as we head into next week. The ocean and lakes are still on the chilly side, but this burst of heat will raise the water temperatures to more comfortable levels.
Changes to the forecast
The pattern the northeast region has dealt with for much of the spring has been cold air lurking over eastern Canada. It has suppressed the heat in the south, which has put the region in a west to east zonal flow. The results have been generally dry conditions and cool to seasonable temperatures.
Cold air works the same in summer as it does in winter. While not as cold, it does fool models a bit, and it's done so again as we head into the weekend.
The blistering hot air over the southeast is trying to nose into the northeast, but it's running into a road block. Winter like cold near Greenland continues to spin around and is preventing it's advancement. I feel kind of foolish not to pick up on this sooner than I did. This is going to be a factor as we head into the weekend.
Essentially Maine ends up on the fringe of the heat dome. The cold to the north is strong enough to keep the heat to the south to start off the weekend. Since we're on the outer boundary, we'll have to deal with a couple of disturbances Saturday and Sunday that may bring some scattered showers and perhaps a thunderstorm to the north and mountains, and a few may impact eastern and southern areas.
This European model idea shows the two disturbances working through the region. While it looks a bit on the rainy side, this isn't really going to amount to a whole lot. Another front approaches the state Tuesday which may bring a few scattered showers and perhaps a rumble to the north country, but it loses moisture as it heads for the coast.
The heat arrives in earnest statewide by Tuesday night. The cold to the north retreats, the pattern flattens out, allowing the heat dome to move northeast and give us a hot Fourth of July holiday.
Let's talk temperatures
I've mentioned the fact that coastal areas will be on the cooler side in my previous updates. I wanted to take a look at this a bit further. What I am presenting here are ensemble mean ideas from the European model. This does not include the heat index. This is also for discussion purposes only.
Let's take a look at the southwest coast, first/
Sanford tends to be one of the hot spots in the state when we get these kind of warm ups, and this one is no different. The mean temperature appears to hover around the 90° mark, and with the humidity, it will likely push triple digits.
Go 20 miles east, we find a different story...
In Kennebunkport, the coast is cooler thanks to the ocean temperatures in the 50s and the influence of an onshore wind flow. Time will tell, but I think these temperatures are bit overdone. Clouds from a disturbance passing through on Sunday may cut these temperatures down also.
Now, we'll head up the coast...
Bangor shows the real heat not arriving until midweek. Regardless, it will be plenty uncomfortable with the humidity elevated.
South of there in Trenton...
Outside of it being on the sticky side, temperatures appear to be much cooler than the city to the north.
The place to be if you want to escape the heat all together...
Rockland. Now I understand there is a discrepancy between the airport where this idea comes from and downtown, but the islands along the MidCoast will be the coolest of anywhere in the state due to the onshore air flow over the next several days.
Final area to look at, Greenville...
While it will take a couple of days for the heat to build into Moosehead country, it will certainly be a bit toasty for a few days.
To tie all of this together, ensemble ideas are not without their own errors. Some areas could be warmer, others cooler, pending on the day, cloud cover and wind pattern. Also note that the state becomes cooler after the Fourth heading into the following weekend. The mountains and north will see some drier air work in which will bring more comfortable sleeping conditions next weekend. With lows in the 60s and dew points right around the same temperature point, it will be sticky at night for most areas in the foreseeable future.
Regional outlook through Tuesday
Each day brings the risk of a shower or thunderstorm to all areas of the state, but the north country has a better chance. Temperatures reflected do not include the heat index, so it could be warmer pending on the amount of sun. By Tuesday, the state appears to be roasting from the south north to the Crown.
Stay in touch with the National Weather Service in Caribou for eastern and northern Maine, and Gray for western and southern areas for the latest forecast, bulletins, and advisories.
Given my schedule, I do not plan on issuing another full update until Monday.
Have a great weekend, and thank you for your support!
It's going to feel like summer real soon
For those that love the heat and humidity of summer, your time has come. A warm front approaching from the south and west on Thursday will certainly bring a tropical feel to the region that is likely to hang on through the Fourth and beyond. The cool, comfortable nights without fans and air conditioners are on hiatus until further notice. One upside in all of this, rain chances increase.
Let's talk about rain
The last week has been helpful to cut rainfall deficits in parts of the western mountains and central parts in the state. The southwestern part of the state along with the far north remains on the lean side of things.
The only recording station showing a rain surplus for the month is in Bangor at the airport. Bangor and Caribou are the only areas showing a surplus for the year. Recent rains have cut deficits statewide. This system on the way will help cut those deficits more.
There is a good chance that areas of the region will pick up 1-2"+ of rainfall through Friday morning. The warm front is being enhanced with tropical moisture, which will bring a soaker to much of the state. I will also point out that latest operational guidance on Wednesday has the higher amounts in the western mountains and DownEast areas. Some areas will come in higher, others lower. Isolated areas could see 3-4"+ from this event.
Due to the tropical nature of the system, there are flash flooding concerns. When you come across a flooded roadway, turn around, and don't drown. It's not worth damage to your vehicle, personal injury, or loss of life. There is a threat for some embedded thunderstorms. Severe chances appear isolated. Expect gusty winds, downpours and lightning. When you hear thunder roar, get indoors.
Lightning Safety Awareness Week
Every year there are incidents reported where people are injured or killed as direct results of lightning strikes. Maine receives approximately 40,000 lightning strikes during the year, according to National Weather Service data.
This is the time of year where people love to be outside to enjoy the warmer conditions. With tropical air around that is on the way, there is always a threat for thunderstorms to develop, and could happen rapidly. It is wise to keep an eye on the sky, and at the sound of the first rumble, seek shelter as quickly as possible. If on a boat, get to shore immediately. For more information including safety tips, please consult the Lightning Safety Tips and Resources pages from the National Weather Service.
Be smart, don't be another statistic.
Pine Tree Weather is proud to be Weather Nation Ready Ambassador for the state of Maine.
After the rain, here comes the heat
I pass this around on Twitter annually which is always good for a few laughs. Our summer is a short one. With due credit to Paul Gant, the pastor at the Sea Road Christian Church in Kennebunk, he calls the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day "the fastest 90 days in Maine", and he's right on the money.
For us cold blooded types, I expect the complaint meter to increase as we head into next week.
The only item I would add to this graphic supplied by my friends at AccuWeather is to wear liberal amounts of sunscreen if you are outside. It won't take long for skin to burn. For those that have to work in these conditions, prepare appropriately. If you have held off on buying that fan or air conditioner, do it now. I suspect inventory on those items will become thin rather quickly.
While the temperature and humidity builds Friday and Saturday, the heat indices really amp up starting on Sunday.
By Monday, areas away from the coast statewide are on track to feel the full effects of the blast furnace. Triple digit "feels like" temperatures are increasingly likely for the southwest interior both days. A frontal boundary drops down from Quebec Monday afternoon, which may touch off some widely scattered showers and thunderstorms. That will help take the edge off a bit in areas where they pass through. With the dampness, expect the humidity to amp up after their passage.
If you plan on heading to the ocean beaches to escape the heat, be advised that high tide will cramp space during the 1 - 2 PM hour on Saturday and 2-3 PM hour Sunday and Monday. Plan accordingly when picking your spot, and expect plenty of company.
Regional outlook through Monday
The thunderstorm threat for northern and western areas on Friday, and statewide on Monday appear to be widely scattered, but could pack a surprise punch, so keep that in mind. As I mentioned in my previous update, I expect fog to be an early morning issue for coastal areas through the weekend. Sunday still concerns me that it may hang on for awhile. If you get to the beach and set up in a fog bank, don't be surprised. The one good thing about this heat blast is it will warm up the lakes and ocean temperatures more comfortable for swimming.
Many hazards to think about
Heat, humidity, flash flooding, lightning, and severe storm potential are all possibilities going forward. Coastal areas may have to deal with fog which may reduce visibility. These are all typical summer weather hazards we have to be considerate of here in Maine.
Have a plan in place if you are heading out. Talk about it with your family, friends, spouse or significant other. Keep an eye to the sky. Don't simply rely on the free standard weather app on the smartphone. Download one from a local news station, AccuWeather, or my personal choice is Weather Radio by WDT app for bulletins and advisories. Make sure notifications are turned on. The old reliable NOAA Weather Radio works like a charm if it is set up right, either as a stand alone or in a public safety scanner.
I am not predicting gloom and doom by mentioning this, it is just simply out of concern that all of my readers stay safe. It is the season.
As always, stay in touch with the National Weather Service in Gray for western and southern Maine and Caribou for eastern and northern areas for the latest forecasts, advisories and bulletins.
God bless you all... thanks as always for your support!
Humidity climbs through the remainder of the week
While the region has experienced a few warm days since the snow melted off, we'll add a few more over the next week. Will it be a "heat wave" (three consecutive days of 90°+)? It's possible for some interior areas. The coast is going to be challenged with a south / southeast flow which will keep the shorelines on the cool side. We're still dealing with 56° ocean along the southwest coast, and cooler DownEast. If there was a more southwest air flow, Portland and areas south along the coast would roasting, too. It does not appear to look that way at this point as high pressure offshore is predicted to be a bit too far north in the Atlantic to fry the shorelines.
We'll have rain to deal with first...
A bit more welcomed news for the abnormally dry areas of the southern and western areas as some beneficial rain is on the way. The Weather Prediction Center's idea here is a good base point for what to expect Thursday. Showers with a few thunderstorms will dominate the day. Some of the showers and storms may bring some locally heavy rain in areas as humidity increases from the southwest. That humidity will continue to build into Friday.
As the humidity gradually increases Friday, the instability created from the sun is likely to touch off some scattered showers and thunderstorms, but it does not appear to be washout of a day. Showers and storms have a better chance to form in northern and western areas, with a reduced threat south and east. High pressure then begins to build in on Saturday, bringing the heat and humidity for a visit through early next week.
How long will the heat and humidity last?
This loop indicates the warm (yellow, orange, red, brown) and the cold (blues and greens) and normal values (gray). After the cool air of Thursday exits to the north and east, the furnace pays us a visit through the weekend. Temperatures cool down somewhat as we head towards the Fourth. Another ridge forms over the Midwest and central Canada and slides eastward for the second half of the week.
It will be when that ridge approaches later on next week that we may see a bit of a break from the humidity, but it's a fair bet the region will see dew points in the 60s+ for an extended period through the following weekend.
Regional outlook through Sunday
The forecast is pretty straightforward for northern and western areas. Southern and eastern areas gets a bit tricky for the weekend. With the sultry, hot air mass building in from the southwest meeting 56° ocean or less, it brings a fog threat for coast. It will all be dependent upon the direction of the onshore wind flow. More south, fog isn't likely to hang on for very long. The more southeast, the fog hangs around. I think the former scenario works for Saturday, although I am a bit concerned for the Penobscot Bay region. Sunday, I am concerned for the entire coast line as high pressure offshore moves further to the north. Time will tell on how this is going to play out. One thing that is almost a certainty is that the coastal areas appear to be the place to go to escape the heat. Whether the sun will be out or be buried in fog for most of the day... stay tuned.
For the latest official forecasts, bulletins and advisories, please check in with the National Weather Service in Caribou for northern and eastern Maine, and Gray for western and southern areas.
Thank you as always for your support!
Weekend forecast improvement
We've certainly had worse weekends in the past few weeks. Saturday will be the better of the two days. Showers appear to hold off until afternoon for western and southern areas, and won't affect northern areas until later in the day. Sunday will be damp at times with on and off showers through the day into the evening. A generally dry pattern continues with below normal rainfall continues.
The drought area spreads
For those who have been reading along in the past few weeks, this chart from Drought Monitor should come as no surprise. I've been talking about it ad nauseam like an old 33 RPM record on a turntable with a reverse skip on it. I keep looking for indications the rain outlook going to turn around, but I am not finding it.
Drought Monitor's map looks in close similarity to National Weather Service recorded data and estimates. A good chunk of northern Maine is running at or slightly above normal since spring began, with western and southern areas dealing with a deficit. With the zonal pattern the area has been in, the results of that in this chart aren't that surprising. As with Alberta clipper systems in winter, the north benefits from moisture from Hudson Bay and/or the Great Lakes and/or the St. Lawrence River, or any combination thereof. Southern areas hardly get anything.
A look at the past 30 days show much of the state in an abnormally dry pattern, with southern and western areas seeing the driest of the conditions. Outside of what rainfall came in the shower activity this past Monday, that has been pretty much it for southern areas. Northern areas have benefited with shots of shower activity here and there, but they could certainly use more rain as growing season kicks into high gear.
Weekend showers to help
The Weather Prediction Center arm of the National Weather Service is staying consistent with it's projected rain outlook through the weekend. Only slight alterations are a bit less for the Allagash and a bit more for Washington County. The important part of this to consider is this weekends weather activity will be "scattered showers" which brings an element of pot luck with them. Some areas may see more, others less. I am still sticking with the general rough idea of 1/2" of rainfall as a basis for much of the state. We'll take every drop we can get at this point, and won't be fussy about it.
Dry times continue into early July
Every time I look at the long term outlook at times in the past couple months, the idea remains the same. Future rainfall estimates continue to appear on the lean side. As we head further into summer, expect that to continue. Conservation of ground water resources remain strongly encouraged and should continue indefinitely.
I would appreciate any of your reports of your water situation, along with any photos of rivers, lakes, brooks and streams you come across that are feeling the pain of the drought. You can post them on Facebook or send me a tweet.
Keep in mind fire danger will also be an on going concern. As the state fills up with summer residents and visitors, the temptation will be to enjoy the great weather by setting up a camp fire. Please take all precautions necessary, stay in touch with the weather forecast and check in with Maine Forest Service, local fire department, or park ranger for burn permits and regulations.
Regional outlook through Tuesday
The north country should keep patchy frost in mind Thursday night into Friday morning for well protected areas. Showers appear to hold off for northern and eastern areas Saturday until late in the day. All areas will be dealing with off and on showers for Sunday, along with a risk of a thunderstorm for western and southern areas in the afternoon. Northern and eastern areas see showers continue into Monday. Temperatures begin to build as we head into the middle part of next week.