April 15, 2012: Drought Continues, Hot Tomorrow

Forecast Highlights:

– Drought to persist this week
– Wind to enhance any fire risk on Monday
– Heat returns tomorrow; 90-93 degrees in NE NJ, NYC
– Next risk of rain by next weekend


Today’s Observations:

After the trough stuck over the region for the last week moved out, southwest winds returned across the region, bringing in a warmer air mass, with high temperatures reaching the mid 70s to 80 degrees across most of the area with the exception of Long Island and southern CT, where temperatures were in the mid 60s to low 70s. A few showers fell last night across the area, although the showers were isolated and brought less than 0.1 inch of rain across the area.

With almost no rain observed last night, the drought will continue to persist throughout this week, with the next rain event only expected to affect the area by next weekend. Heat will briefly return into the region tomorrow, with an unusually early 90+ degree day expected for parts of the area, especially near NYC and NE NJ. Although the temperatures will cool down by the second half of next week, only isolated showers are expected, with the next possibility of widespread rain by next weekend.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

The low pressure that produced yesterday’s large tornado outbreak in the central US will continue to move NE into the Great Lakes, bringing a short lasting yet strong surge of warmth into the region tomorrow, easily making tomorrow the warmest day of the year so far. Factors such as a breezy SW/SSW wind gusting up to 30-35 mph, mostly sunny skies, 850mb temperatures near 14-16C, and a dry ground are favorable for temperatures to end up very warm for tomorrow.

With the factors above, temperatures will quickly climb across the area tomorrow, peaking in the upper 80s to lower 90s in NYC, northern NJ, SE NY, and interior southern CT, with a maximum temperature of about 92-93 degrees. Coastal southern CT and Long Island will be cooler, with highs in the lower to mid 80s except for the immediate coast, where temperatures will be in the 70s.

This early in the year, 80+ degree days are infrequent, and 90+ degree days are even more uncommon; the most recent 90+ degree day in the first half of April was in 2010, when parts of the area reached the low-mid 90s. If temperatures end up reaching 90 degrees in parts of the area as expected, tomorrow will end up as an unusually early 90+ degree day, and maybe even one of the earliest 90+ degree days on record for the NYC area.

Tuesday – Friday: Colder, Still Dry

The cold front will approach the area on Monday evening with thunderstorms in western PA and NY, but as frequently observed throughout this dry pattern, the rain will dissipate before reaching the area, and a dry cold front will move through around Tuesday with only partly cloudy skies. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid 70s across the area, with upper 70s near the immediate NYC area, with WNW winds.

A cooler air mass will return for Wednesday and Thursday, with highs dropping into the 60s again. An increase in cloud cover is possible on Thursday, but otherwise dry conditions will continue. By Friday, some showers could be possible, but again no widespread moderate rain is expected, instead more likely to end up as isolated showers. The temperature outlook is uncertain, depending on an approaching low pressure, but at this time I am siding with the warmer models, with highs ending up in the upper 60s and 70s across most of the area.

Next Weekend: Rain Expected, Amounts Still Uncertain

Since last night, the models have been in agreement with showing a large low pressure over the region for the weekend, with most of these models also showing a widespread heavy rain event, including the area, and trying to bring snow into the picture in the Northeast. The models have already exaggerated rain events in the medium and long range before, as a few days ago, this upcoming Wednesday for example was shown on some models to bring heavy rain instead of the partly sunny skies now expected, and even last night was originally modeled to bring 1/4 to 1/2 inch of rain instead of isolated showers. While at least some rain is expected over the weekend, and there is a better chance of seeing moderate rain than the last few storms, a large soaking rain event to ease the drought at this time remains questionable given the pattern and trends. There is more uncertainty going into the long range due to the time range, although cooler temperatures also appear to return by the weekend possibly going into early next week.

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