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.
In the Northeast, a high pressure area now in control will be reinforced by another high from northeastern Canada. In the "what could go wrong?" department, a batch of cloudiness has appeared east of New England and has been spreading southwestward toward the New Jersey coast this morning.
The clouds over parts of the region are starting to break up, a sign that the predicted drier air from the northeast is making progress.
Cloudiness covers a large area. A few pockets of clearing show up where south winds ride downhill from mountains to lowlands. Air warms and dries with descent. Notice clearing downwind (northwest of) the Smoky Mts.
So, there could be more showers at times late next week as forest we can tell. For now we are stumped. But, it is our beleaf that this weekend you will like being outside. I know a dogwood. It may be a little cool for the beech, but you can take your dog for walk in the bark. What about next weekend? Don't ax.
If the pattern turns out damp as suggested by this map for Sunday, it could turn gray and drizzly from D.C. to New York City for early next week. If the high does not move offshore and no disturbance approaches from the west, it would be sunny and warm.
Two things stand out: (1) a warmup this weekend and early next week (the top graph), and (2) the overall dryness for the weekend and early next week. This graph is for Philadelphia.