Articles by Vince Agard
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.
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.
March 12, 2015
The onslaught of major snowstorms that struck the Boston area in late January and February has left the city just inches shy of the all-time record for snowiest winter. That record of 105.7 snowfall inches, set in the winter of 1995-1996, will be tied if an additional 1.9 inches of snowfall are recorded at Logan Airport before July 1st. In fact, the record has a chance to be broken this weekend, as a low pressure system will bring moisture from the Gulf of Mexico north to New England in the form of rain and snow. At this time, it appears most likely that the storm will begin as a mostly-rain event on Friday night or Saturday morning before a possible changeover to snow showers on Saturday night or Sunday. Although above-freezing temperatures may make snow accumulation challenging during this storm, there may be another chance for the record to be broken as snow showers move through the area on Monday night. That this record is on the verge of being surpassed is especially impressive considering that the seasonal snowfall total stood at only 5.5 inches as of January 23.
February 12, 2015
The greater Boston area has experienced record-setting snow over the past three weeks, and snowfall will continue at least through the weekend.
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December 9, 2014
Another nor’easter is poised to strike the Eastern Seaboard today, bringing high winds and a mix of wintry precipitation to the Institute. The storm, which as of Monday night was beginning to form off the coast of the Carolinas, will quickly intensify as it moves up the coast this afternoon, with the center of the storm forecast to move onshore over New England overnight tonight. While nor’easters often mean big snowstorms for the Boston area, the track of this particular storm, combined with its insufficient access to early-season Arctic air, will turn it into a mostly-rain event for most of our region. While today may start out with a mix of rain, snow, and sleet, the precipitation will change over to all rain as the day progresses and the temperature climbs into the 40s (°F). Rain and wind will become heavy at times this afternoon as the storm strengthens and moves toward shore. In fact, total liquid precipitation from the storm may be in excess of 2 inches. As such, the National Weather Service had issued a Wind Advisory, Flood Watch, and Coastal Flood Advisory for the Boston area as of this writing.