Friday 9 a.m.
Much the Northeast will have a warmup to start the weekend, followed by a cold front that can set off strong thunderstorms. The weekend will end with a cooling trend that will last through Monday night. Another warmup will follow.
As autumn begins and winter approaches, Sam the Dog patiently waits for the opportunity to take advantage of all the fur he keeps growing. When I asked him when he thought it might get cold, he just looked at me.
Feelings of Fall
•Fall has a rich diversity few other seasons can match. Its winds bring fresh surprise at each turn; its days of calm mean fog that cloaks the dawn and nullifies noon.
•Fall 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 spring is the chameleon season, autumn is its cousin. One day is bright and crisp, brimming with fresh vitality; the next is under a dreary roof of slate framed by curtains of steel wool.
•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 in dirty air. 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 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 truly 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.
•Autumn'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 cereal box 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 season 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.
Once again, the rain will miss much of central and northern New England. The region has been in a dry spell, as evidenced by its appearance on this U.S Drought Monitor map.
A cold front crossed the Northeast yesterday. Looking at these maps, which show morning temperatures yesterday versus readings around the same time today, we can see that the biggest drop in temperatures occurred around the lower Great Lakes.
Much of eastern New England has been in a dry spell ever since the last snow melted. More dry weather is on the way from tomorrow through the end of the week. This radar image taken at mid-morning Tuesday is peppered with showers.
Cooling will also occur from Wisconsin into western Michigan as a cold front moves eastward. This map shows the arrangement of fronts and the area of relatively warm air between the two cool air masses:
The worst storms later in the weekend will precede the cold front that brings cooler air back into the Northeast next week. This map shows the threat as outlined by the NWS Storm Prediction Center:
With the dry weather now affecting the Northeast, are any signs of change? These two maps show the GFS-predicted total rainfall (1) between today and the end of this weekend and (2) between today and the Saturday of next weekend (Memorial Day weekend).