Wednesday 8 a.m.
Unseasonably warm air covers most of the Great Lakes and Northeast. A weak cold front has moved southeastward and, at midmorning, was on a line from central New England to just south of Chicago, where it is stalling. Even where the front has passed, the air is not really chilly. In fact, at Pellston in northern Michigan, the 9 a.m. temperature was 57, same as it was at the same time yesterday. However, as the air warms further on the south side of the front... then the front returns north as a warm front, showers and thunderstorms will break out in its vicinity and to the north. The video shows more.
It feels like summer in the Northeast, but 10 years ago today, I took a picture of the first snow on the ground in central Pennsylvania.
October has a rich diversity few other months can match. Its winds bring fresh surprise at each turn; its days of calmness mean fog that cloaks the dawn and nullifies noon.
October colors scream for attention as summer's emerald draperies are splashed with auburn, set ablaze with firethorn, streaked with burnished copper, then saturated in chocolate just before Halloween.
If March is the chameleon month, October is its cousin. One day is bright and crisp, brimming with fresh vitality; the next is under a dreary roof of slate framed by steel wool curtains... a lint-filter sky.
But, when winter's scouts retreat north for reinforcements, an eerie still is left behind. The quiet is punctuated by the quick tick of a bouncing acorn. The scene of vivid crispness is hidden by a haze that smears the colors. The waning sun is too feeble to stir the grimy soup; fog lingers through damp mornings. Later, the haze tints muted sunbeams on bittersweet warm afternoons. You can just barely feel the hint of bygone summer, but the lengthening shadows and eager evening dusk say warm times are headed for history.
As the sun wearies of its heated climb through summer skies, the woodlands are tossed into an autumn salad bar. The leaner diet of light and the fingers of frost lace the chervil and sage greens of summer with oregano, pumpkin spice and cinnamon. The ocean of summer green now has islands of amber and auburn amidst currents of crimson, the mixing colors changing each day.
Nature has taken its full palette of pastels, earth tones and half shades and thrown them together in a tapestry simultaneously chaotic and yet invitingly familiar. Autumn is our annual sunset, the rich colors and interweaving of light providing our last look at the year, with the winter night temporarily postponed but imminently inevitable.
October's loud colors are matched by its noisy winds. The brittle leaves crackle in the breeze, a sure giveaway it's autumn on those increasingly rare warm south wind nights. The leaves lodge in the lawns, shove into shrubs and burrow into the bushes; the nachos style crunchiness amplifies the sound of footsteps.
Brash noise and sullen solitude. Bold bright colors and dim dreariness. Tossed trees with spiced scenery. How they match life's many moods and tastes. For here in one month is captured the diversity of the entire annual cycle of earthly life. Yet for all of its richness and variety, few of its scenes and sounds will last out the year.
We always look back at our previous forecasts to try to learn from episodes in which we believe we could have done better. The following satellite picture shows dry weather today in just the area that originally looked like it would have more rain.
In other words, while late summers in Phoenix have gotten wetter during the last few years, Boston has become drier. Is there anything more momentous or general that we can say about this?
This enhanced infrared satellite picture shows the cold front in the Northeast and the moisture wrapping around Odille on the southwest part of the map.
Across the Central and Northern states, thunderstorms are less common at this time of year than in late spring and summer. One area that has had more thunderstorms than usual recently is across the Desert Southwest.
Last week, I mentioned that longer range computer models were suggesting a major warmup by next weekend. More recent runs have backed off on the that idea. However, there is extreme uncertainty beyond the next 7-10 days. This can be seen by looking at the following map.
n the forecast office, we often track cold fronts with pressure maps like these. The examples are from 4AM and 10 AM today. You can see that the northern part of the front is moving more quickly than the southern end. The arrival of the front signals the start of the cooling trend that is spreading east.