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.
The surface pressure pattern looks chaotic today, with a multitude of trough lines. A few of these can be caused by glitches in the data, but any of the real ones could be all that's required to organize a short band of showers or thunderstorms. However, these features tend to change character with time, or they disappear and new ones pop up.
Here's a cool fact: even when Death Valley, California, has a temperature of 110 or 120 degrees, you only have to go up a little more than 3.5 miles to find temperatures at or below freezing.
It appears the dry comfortable air mass now in the Northeast will be replaced by a humid flow from the South Atlantic states for the coming weekend. An upper-air forecast map sequence in the video shows how this could happen. The following map shows the predicted flow from Florida to New Jersey Friday night.
This map shows the pressure analysis for the Northeast and Great Lakes. The gusty flow on the west side of the low pressure area adds a real autumn feel to the air.
Since individual lines and clusters of thunderstorms have limited life spans and change character constantly, forecasting whether it will or won't rain at any one time this weekend is difficult at best. One solution is to have your tablet or phone available with the AccuWeather.com app so you can see where all the storms are at the times when it concerns you the most.
It does look warmer for the weekend, but every time the warm air tries to extend into New England it gets chopped down. There could be more showers at times Sunday and early next week as forest we can tell. If any forecast gives you a headache, why not take a friend's advice: Take two aspen; sequoia in the morning.