Good Thursday evening!
Today is the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene! The powerful tropical storm swept through Connecticut on Sunday, August 28th in 2011, just 3 years ago. Irene approached Connecticut near the time of high tide. Plus, it was an astronomically high tide due to the new moon. Additionally, the eye of Irene passed over Southeastern New York State and far Western Connecticut. Thus, onshore winds pushed a tremendous amount of water up and over the shoreline. Combining all of these factors, the result was devastating coastal flooding. Inland flooding was a big problem too with 5-10 inches of rain falling over a good portion of the state. In some cases, that was more than 2 months' worth of normal rainfall in just a matter of one weekend. While the wind in Connecticut never reached hurricane force, they battered the state for a long time due to the relatively slow forward speed of Irene. Furthermore, the ground was already wet due to abundant rainfall prior to Irene. This led to record power outages across the state with 800-thousand customers without power at the peak and it took up to 9 days for complete restoration! At the time, that was Connecticut's worst power outage on record, surpassing the number of customers that lost power during Hurricane Gloria in September, 1985. Gloria came through with stronger winds (81 mph in Hartford). However, we only had 1-2" of rain since Gloria was moving so fast. Also, we didn't have a horrible tide situation like the one that occurred during Tropical Storm Irene. The record power outage from Irene didn't stand for very long. 2 months later, along came a freak late October snowstorm named Alfred! Heavy wet snow downed numerous trees and power lines leaving 880-thousand customers in the dark!
So far this season, the tropics have been kind to us although Hurricane Arthur brought heavy rain to parts of Connecticut on the 4th of July. Today, Hurricane Cristobal is moving rapidly out to sea far away from New England. Ocean facing beaches will still have unusually high surf through tomorrow morning then the waves and the dangerous rip currents will begin to settle down.
Our trend of above normal temperatures has come to an end, but not before reaching the 90 degree mark at Windsor Locks for the 12th time this year yesterday. Today's weather was a refreshing thanks to a dry northwesterly breeze and highs that ranged from the mid 70s to the lower 80s. Dew point readings dropped into the low and mid 50s, which is quite comfortable for late August.
Tonight, with a clear sky and diminishing wind, the mercury will dip into the 40s and 50s. Great weather for giving the AC a break and sleeping with the windows open! Tomorrow will be another ideal day for outdoor activities with abundant sunshine and highs in the mid to upper 70s! That is actually a little cooler than normal for late August, the average high for August 29th is 81 degrees. If you're heading to Rentschler Field to watch UConn take on BYU for the season opener, you can look forward to very comfortable conditions. The temperature should be close to 70 degrees for the 7:00 pm kickoff.
Saturday will be nice as well with partly sunny skies and highs in the 70s to near 80 degrees. A nice southerly breeze will develop in the afternoon as high pressure moves offshore, but the humidity will remain fairly low. However, warm humid weather will return in a big way for Sunday and Monday, Labor Day. Temperatures will rise well into the 80s and dew point readings will rise through the 60s to near 70 degrees. While the weekend will not be a washout, we will have to be on the lookout for showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening hours both Sunday and Monday as a cold front settles into New England. Some of these storms could be on the strong side and they will be capable of producing torrential downpours since there will be so much moisture in the air.
While August will go into the record books as a cooler than normal month, September will start out quite warm! It'll feel more like July all of next week with daytime highs in the mid to upper 80s and nighttime lows in the mid to upper 60s. Plus, there will be daily chances for a shower or thunderstorm, although dry weather will prevail most of the time.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest
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