Articles by Vince Agard
September 25, 2015
This week’s pattern of sunny, seasonable weather will continue through the weekend, with a strong high pressure system forecast to move in from the northwest. High pressure systems, or anticyclones, tend to be associated with calm, sunny weather, since their clockwise motion (in the Northern Hemisphere) induces large-scale subsidence, or downward motion of air from the upper troposphere. The air warms as it descends due to the increase in atmospheric pressure, and it remains dry, since air in the upper troposphere cannot retain much water vapor.
September 22, 2015
Just in time for the autumnal equinox, the first hints of fall have arrived in the form of cooler weather. After last week’s unseasonably warm weather, a cold front passed through the Boston area on Sunday morning, bringing with it a cool northwesterly breeze. This breeze has ushered in a colder Canadian air mass that has brought temperatures down to around their normal levels. For this time of year, the normal high temperature is 70°F (21°C), while the normal low is 55°F (13°C). Indeed, the highs and lows for the next few days will be very close to those marks, as a strong high pressure system settles in over the northern East Coast.
September 17, 2015
A broad high pressure system will bring above-normal temperatures back to the Institute this week. With its center to our south, the high pressure system will bring clear skies and offshore winds to the Boston area for the next few days. Temperatures will near the 90°F (32°C) mark today as 10 mph westerly winds will keep cooler ocean temperatures literally at bay. Temperatures over the weekend will be slightly cooler as cloudiness increases ahead of an incoming cold front. The frontal passage will likely occur sometime on Sunday, ushering in a much colder start to the week on Monday. After the cold front passes, another high pressure system is expected to move in, resulting in a return to sunny skies for at least the first part of next week.
September 10, 2015
The “fall” semester has officially begun at the Institute, but the weather has remained decidedly summer-like. Unusually hot weather has gripped the Boston area this week, as the last three days have been the top three warmest days of the year to date. In fact, Tuesday’s high temperature of 96°F (36°C) and Wednesday’s high of 93°F (34°C) were each all-time records for their respective days.
September 3, 2015
Although Tropical Storm Erika dissipated before coming close to the United States mainland, the Atlantic hurricane basin is not entirely quiet. Earlier this week, Hurricane Fred became the first known tropical cyclone to strike the Cape Verde Islands while at hurricane strength in over 100 years. Fred passed through the group of islands in the eastern Atlantic on Monday with sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h)—strong enough to be considered a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. Thus, Fred became the first known hurricane to impact Cape Verde since 1892.
August 27, 2015
Tropical Storm Erika is currently impacting the Antillean islands, and it could become the first tropical cyclone to strike the continental United States this year. Erika became the fifth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season on Tuesday, just a few days after Hurricane Danny became the first storm of the year to attain hurricane strength. After passing near Puerto Rico later today, Erika is expected to track to the north of Hispañola and Cuba in the coming days. By the weekend, the storm could be strengthening as it encounters warm waters in the vicinity of the Bahamas. While it is very hard to predict the motion — and especially the intensity — of a tropical cyclone several days in advance, there is a distinct possibility that Erika could impact the southeastern U.S. coast by the beginning of next week.
August 6, 2015
A period of cooler temperatures is poised to begin after a severe thunderstorm passed on Tuesday afternoon. The storm, which arrived shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, brought heavy downpours, strong winds, and a barrage of hailstones to MIT’s campus. At Boston’s Logan airport, the storm brought nearly half an inch of rainfall in less than an hour, with recorded wind gusts of up to 51 miles per hour (82 km/h). Golf ball-sized hail was reported in Harvard Square, while hailstones 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter were observed in nearby Jamaica Plain. The storm capped off an especially severe weather day in Massachusetts, in which supercell thunderstorms resulted in multiple tornado warnings being issued by the National Weather Service.
July 9, 2015
With a high temperature of 88°F (31°C), yesterday was tied for the second-warmest day of the year so far, according to National Weather Service observations taken at Logan Airport. Interestingly, 2015’s hottest day so far was nearly two months ago on May 10, when the temperature reached 89°F. Since then, Boston has recorded a high of 88°F on four separate occasions, but the city has yet to reach the 90°F mark. Although 90°F is an arbitrary threshold, this statistic is a bit unusual: on average, Boston experiences 12.9 days per year with a high temperature of 90°F or higher, 3.2 of which normally occur before July 1st. The lack of 90-degree temperatures so far means 2015 will have at least the 6th-latest occurrence of 90°F in Boston’s recorded history.
June 5, 2015
The month of June is off to its coldest start in Boston’s recorded history. Until this week, there had never (since records were first kept in 1872) been a day in June during which the temperature in Boston didn’t reach at least 50°F. However, the high temperatures on both Monday and Tuesday, June 1 and 2, were only 49°F. The unseasonable cold began to abate on Wednesday as sunshine returned, bringing temperatures into the mid-50s. This warming trend will continue through the weekend, as temperatures slowly make their way back up to seasonable levels.
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April 14, 2015
After a brutal winter in which it was colder than 40°F for over a month, the Boston area is finally getting a taste of above-normal temperatures. With a high of 69°F (21°C), yesterday was the warmest day of 2015 so far, 14° warmer than the normal high of 55°F (13°C) for this time of year.