Rare ‘Dust Devil' Possible With Warmer Temps Tuesday Morning

A dust devil resembles a miniature, much weaker version of a tornado and has damaged weak buildings in New England in the past

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A cold front moved in Sunday evening, prompting scattered thunderstorms and downpours over New England. Now it marks the leading edge to new, cooler, drier and fresh spring air that’s evident right out of the gate Monday.

Sunshine and comfortable air will mix with a picturesque variety of clouds. Temperatures will rise to around 70 degrees at the warmest time of day, but an onshore breeze will keep highs in the 60s near the coast. 

As you might expect, New England’s pollen count remains high. Oak is the latest tree pollen added to the mix, with strands of pollen that resemble short pipe cleaners and collect in large piles on the ground.

Meanwhile, brush fire danger is high in pockets as the lack of recent rain has led to new dry conditions. Monday's dry air not only means no rain in the forecast, but also that temperatures will cool quickly after sunset under partly cloudy skies.

Temperatures will drop into the 40s for most and 30s for a few. Frost isn’t expected except perhaps in deepest valleys of the far North Country of New England.

Dry air cools quickly at night, but also warms quickly with the addition of sunshine, so our First Alert Team is expecting a quick rebound well into the 70s Tuesday morning. 

Occasionally, with dry air and a fast morning temperature rebound, “dust devils” can result. Although they are never likely in any given spot, Tuesday morning creates a setup that favors their development in northern New England. 

A dust devil resembles a miniature, much weaker version of a tornado with regard to a swirling vortex of wind that can lift lightweight objects like dust and grass. But they develop under sunny skies, not beneath a thunderstorm cloud, as the development is prompted by a rapid warming of the land coming off a chilly morning start. 

A few of the stronger dust devils in New England history have caused damage to weak buildings, but most come and go with little more than a show for nearby observers. They are so few and far between that they often go unobserved at all. 

Regardless, this is all a sign of quick warming expected Tuesday. High temperatures will reach well into the 70s by afternoon beneath a fair sky, preceding a return of summer-like air Wednesday.

An increasing southwest wind Wednesday will carry both warmth – with high temperatures 85 to 90 degrees – and humidity back to New England for one day. Then a new cold front will sink south from Canada, touching off scattered downpours and thunder in northern and western New England during the midday and afternoon, and southern to eastern New England Wednesday evening.

Although new air arrives for week’s end, it may not be as sudden of a change as we saw with Monday’s reset to spring air. Instead it eases down Thursday with a lingering chance of a shower or storm and completed by Friday, leaving new, cooler spring air for the Memorial Day weekend.

While we carry a very low chance of showers each day of the holiday weekend in our exclusive First Alert 10-day, right now we anticipate the extended weekend is likely to stay mostly or entirely dry before renewed summer-like warming to start the month of June next week.

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