Wednesday, 9 a.m.
A southerly flow of increasingly moist air is spreading up the I95 corridor, where the dawn was greeted by dreary dullness and dim, drab drippiness from Maryland to Massachusetts. There are also some showers from western New York to Ohio along a cold front that will reach the East Coast this evening. When that cold front arrives, it will usher in a dry air mass that pulls back the curtain of clouds to reveal brilliant sunshine that plays off the multicolored leaves in the Northeast from tomorrow into the weekend.
In New York City and Philadelphia, typical afternoon temperatures are well up in the 60s at this time of year. Nights cool to about 50 in the cities, but well down in the 40s in many suburbs. The air masses in place from tomorrow through Saturday will bring temperatures that run about a half-dozen degrees below those long-term averages. Saturday morning is apt to be frosty in the colder suburbs from Washington, D.C., to New York City and below freezing in upstate New York and much of New England's interior. However, a strong southwesterly flow of warmer air could boost temperatures to 70 degrees in these areas on Sunday afternoon.
A strong storm is likely to cut through the Great Lakes Saturday night and Sunday, and its associated cold front will trigger showers and even thunderstorms. However, the air coming in behind that storm should not be as chilly as the air that follows this week's fronts. The reason: this week's upper air flow into the Northeast can be traced back to northwest Canada. Next week's main upper air current looks like it will be straight west to east. The video has more.
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.