We’ll it’s here. The long-awaited soaking we’ve been advertising since early in the week.
While it’s maddening that we’re facing a washed-out holiday weekend just as we’re opening up all venues, this particular one-two punch of rain likely saved us from a developing drought.
Between 2-3 inches of water will fall from these two storms through Memorial Day. Our deficits will still run about 2 inches areawide after this dousing, but the timing is key. During dry spells, evapotranspiration (the landscape releasing water vapor to the atmosphere) virtually shuts down. Without it, the incoming fronts, storms and random showers are starved for moisture. It’s a vicious feedback that can both deepen and extend droughts once they establish (recall last summer when we couldn’t buy a raindrop). These bouts of rain charge the greenscape with excess water and provide water vapor to future storms and fronts down the road. We’re literally reestablishing equilibrium to the water cycle.
Now, onto timing the dry hours.
Well…there aren’t many, first off. This afternoon, the steady rain will depart, but a driving northeast wind will create batches of stinging mist and bits of light rain – especially near the coast. Speaking of the wind, it’ll feel like there’s a raging nor’easter on the Cape and Islands today. Gusts could top 45 mph there, while we’re seeing winds between 25 and 35 elsewhere. Winds will ease a bit tomorrow, but the rain will return with the second storm taking aim at New England.
This second storm will heave the rain far into northern New England, and keep the chill intact. Expect another 1-1 ½ inches of water through Sunday night.
Memorial Day is a tricky forecast. There’s a batch of unstable air over New England that will likely spawn a few downpours early on, with a small chance at some thunderstorms. Those should quickly scoot out, then we’ll cross our fingers and toes for a little afternoon sun! That should help temps recover to the mid-60s. Think of it as a consolation prize for a drab – but critically important – start to summer.
Be safe and enjoy what you can this weekend.