The weekend weather was pretty stunning, and hopefully, you got a chance to enjoy it. There’s a bit of extreme weather expected in New England this week.
First off, dry air — different than the fact that we need rain. What I mean here is the air itself has a very low relative humidity over the next several days. This is true, especially Tuesday and Wednesday.
The relative humidity measures how close or far the air is from full saturation. The number doesn’t tell us anything about how you feel. The relative humidity could be 100 percent when it’s clear with dew or when there’s frost on the ground. The air would feel crisp. On a hot summer day, the relative humidity could be 50 percent and feel incredibly humid. The relative humidity does tell us how quickly moisture is going to evaporate.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the relative humidity will be as low as the mid-teens. This will enable moisture to evaporate very quickly and will enhance the fire danger.
Temperatures will be significantly above average on Tuesday, reaching the lower 80s for many inland areas. Add in a notable breeze, and you have a recipe for brush fires. It will be a little cooler on Wednesday but still very dry.
The National Weather Service in Boston has issued a fire weather watch, which is in effect from Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening for all of southern New England, except Block Island, Cape Cod, and the Islands.
The other extreme we have ahead is a cold Wednesday night and pre-sunrise Thursday. Temperatures could be cold enough for a solid freeze in some spots. This would be problematic for any tender vegetation that you’ve put out.
I have not planted my tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant. My basil is still also not in the ground. Temperatures under 40 degrees for these plants can promote disease, which is why there’s no point in rushing things into the ground.
The temperature would have to be less than 28 degrees for an extended amount of time to wipe out apple trees in the same way the peaches were hurt back in February. I don’t see this happening. However, it could be cold enough that some developing fruit is impacted. The good news is that apple trees shed a fair amount of their apples anyway.
Thursday will be warmer, with readings back in the mid to upper 60s, which is typical for the time of year. We then go warmer than average on Friday and Saturday, with readings into the low and perhaps mid-70s. There could be some shower activity for the second part of the weekend, but overall we are in a developing drought pattern. Translation, we are not in a drought. But the pattern we are in — if it were to continue — would put us in one over the next few weeks.