Articles by Vince Agard
February 18, 2016
The Boston area is experiencing a return to climatologically normal temperatures after record cold enveloped the region over President’s Day Weekend. The most severe part of the cold outbreak came on Sunday, when both the high (12°F) and low (-9°F) temperatures were the coldest ever observed in Boston on February 14. An extraordinarily cold polar air mass was to blame for the frigid outbreak, which spread throughout the northeastern United States. The unique extremity of the cold air mass was captured by a weather balloon measurement in Albany, New York, on Saturday night, which measured -23.4 °F at the 850 millibar level (a height of about 1.4 kilometers) — the coldest temperature ever observed at that height in Albany.
February 2, 2016
Barely a week after a historic blizzard left much of the northeastern United States buried in snow, spring-like weather has spread along the East Coast. In Boston, where only 6.1&quot; of snow were received in the January 23 storm, temperatures neared record levels at the end of the month. The January 31 high temperature of 57°F (14°C) at Logan Airport was 5°F shy of the record high of 62°F (17°C) set in 1913. The next day, the temperature reached 65°F (18°C), just 1°F short of the all-time record for February 1. For comparison, the normal high temperature is 36°F for this time of year, and the normal high won't reach 60°F until April 27.
January 21, 2016
The Mid-Atlantic region is preparing for a major winter storm that is poised to wallop the Washington and Baltimore areas with up to 2 feet of snow this weekend. However, while this same storm was originally forecast to have a similar impact in New England, recent model runs are suggesting that the storm will take a more southern track, bringing it out to sea and sparing the Boston area from the brunt of the snowfall.
January 7, 2016
After a record-shattering month of December, the first burst of winter cold has hit the Institute. Ocean-effect snow showers on Monday were followed by Tuesday morning temperatures at Logan Airport plunging to 8°F (-13°C), while a steady northwesterly wind made it feel like -8°F (-22°C). Here on campus, the weather station on the roof of the Green Building recorded a low temperature of 6.9°F (-13.9°C). These temperatures were in stark contrast to the last month of 2015, in which the average high was 52°F (11°C), it was 69°F (21°C) on Christmas Eve, and the temperature only dipped below the freezing mark on four occasions. On average, the month of December was 10.6°F (5.9 K) warmer than average, and 4.3°F (2.4 K) warmer than the next-warmest December on record.
November 12, 2015
Although autumn is in full swing here in New England, the Atlantic hurricane season is still in session. In fact, the Atlantic basin is currently experiencing its fourth hurricane of 2015, as Tropical Storm Kate was officially upgraded to hurricane status on Wednesday morning. A weak Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph, Kate is forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical storm later today as it moves out to sea without impacting any major land areas.
November 5, 2015
The United States’ East Coast has experienced a period of unusual warmth this week. High temperatures in Boston have been in the 50s and 60s (°F) nearly every day for the past week, and we haven’t seen a high temperature below 50°F (10°C) since all the way back on Oct. 25. Normally, temperatures like this are more often observed in the first few days of autumn than in the first few days of November.
October 15, 2015
The Institute will get its first real dose of chilly fall weather this weekend as an Arctic air mass ushers in some of the coldest temperatures this area has seen in months. The frigid air will begin to make its intrusion after the passage of a cold front tomorrow afternoon. The frontal passage will be accompanied by a shift in the wind from southwesterly to westerly, and an increase in wind speed. After the front moves out, a mass of anomalously cold air will make its way down from Canada through New England over the course of the weekend. The result will be that by Sunday, low temperatures will be below 40°F (4°C) and the high may not even reach 50°F (10°C). The last times that low and high temperatures that cold were recorded in Boston were May 2 and June 2, respectively. By Sunday night, temperatures could even threaten to break the freezing mark for the first time since April 2. The predicted temperatures are also particularly low compared to the normal high and low of 61°F (16°C) and 46°F (8°C) for this time of year. It will likely take until Tuesday of next week to return to warmer, more seasonable temperatures.
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.
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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.