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Between wildfires on the West Coast and storm activity in the Atlantic Basin, there’s a lot of weather going on right now

Even in Massachusetts, the sun has a hazy look from the West Coast fires.

The vertically integrated smoke forecast showed some smoke across much of the northern two-thirds of the US on Tuesday.NOAA

Like everything else, the weather goes through cycles, and sometimes it’s definitely more active than others. At times one part of the planet can be experiencing very active weather, while it’s tranquil thousands of miles away, and then the opposite occurs. Right now we have a tremendous amount of activity in the Atlantic Basin, with five named storms leading us to our 20th of the season.

There were 5 named storms in the Atlantic Basin Monday afternoon.COD Weather

In terms of the regular alphabet, there’s only a hypothetical Tropical Storm Wilfred left to go before we start having to use the Greek alphabet. The most number of named storms we’ve ever had in the modern era, post 1966, is 2009, when 28 tropical systems received a name. We just need nine more and we will break that record. It’s not out of the question that that could happen. Indeed, since 1966, the satellite era, the years 1969, 2000, 2005, and 2019 have actually had nine named storms after this date, and since this year’s been so active, there’s no reason to believe that we won’t break the record.

Hurricane Paulette hit Bermuda this morning with the eyewall going right over the island. It’s kind of amazing when you think about a small island in relation to the central Atlantic and how a hurricane can actually go right over it. It sometimes feels like 2020 is just throwing all sorts of things at different parts of the planet.


Across the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Sally is slowly meandering toward landfall while it also gains some strength. The snail pace of this particular system is going to allow lots of rain, and even if the storm never becomes a major hurricane, the rainfall has the potential to cause catastrophic flooding. There will also be strong winds and a storm surge, perhaps lasting multiple tide cycles.


More than a foot of rain is forecast from Hurricane Sally across parts of Mississippi and Alabama.NOAA

On the opposite side of the country we’ve seen an active fire season, with some unprecedented burning in certain areas. All of this is likely exacerbated by the increase in temperature over the past several decades. You might be surprised, but in places like Oregon, rainfall has been pretty consistent over the past few decades, but the temperature, a sign of a warming planet, is unmistakably higher.

Temperature and rainfall trends for Oregon the past 100 years.NOAA

The smoke from these fires is evident across our skies this afternoon and the jet stream will continue to funnel the smoke eastward the next few days. You can see the sun has a haze to it – that’s the smoke. Don’t be surprised if you can even smell the scent of burnt wood as the smoke remains overhead through the middle of the week.

Even in Massachusetts, the sun has a hazy look from the West Coast fires.Dave Epstein

The weather here continues to be absolutely stunning with almost bone dry weather right into next week. Temperatures tomorrow will struggle toward 70 degrees, but with the sunshine it’ll feel quite nice, and then things will warm up for the end of the week. On Thursday night a cold front will come through. There might be a shower with that, but my emphasis is on the word might. After that some cooler air does come in for the weekend with temperatures in the 60s and nighttime lows down in the 40s. The only issue with our nice weather is that it’s too nice; we need rain badly and the drought continues to worsen in spite of the fact the days are shorter and cooler. It may be so cool this weekend that some areas see an early frost Sunday or Monday morning. Stay tuned for that!


Moderate drought conditions will remain across much of New England this week.NOAA/USDA

Follow Dave Epstein @growingwisdom.