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New England's Weather Pattern is Changing: Impacts on Weather, Smoke

New England has been stuck in a blocking weather pattern that has trapped an area of low pressure just to New England's east since last Friday. This blocking pattern is similar to what New England experienced in late April to early May. This has given much of the region persistent clouds, showers and cool temperatures. This will be changing soon, however.


This major shift in the pattern will begin on Saturday. The closed, cutoff low that has been spinning around Nova Scotia will transition to an open low and finally begin pushing away from New England. As this happens, it will give New England one more cloudy, showery day. Showers, and perhaps a thunderstorm or two, will be most prevalent across eastern New England.

Sunday is when New England's next weather pattern will be most noticeable. After spending over a week under the influence of low pressure, New England will become entrenched in a ridge of high pressure. This will bring the region blue skies (with some fair weather clouds) and warm temperatures.

High pressure builds on Sunday:


This ridge of high pressure will be short lived for New England. A storm will develop in the country's midsection early next week. This will bring increasing clouds and potentially some showers on Monday. The storm will create a southerly wind, which will keep temperatures mild Monday despite the clouds.

This storm will continue to push eastward Monday night. The center will likely track over the Great Lakes. This track will drag an associated cold front across New England sometime Monday afternoon through Tuesday. Bering several days out, the exact timing is still in question. Models have trended toward a slower arrival over the past 24-36 hours.

Frontal system working through New England on Tuesday. Note the low that develops near southern New England:

This system could bring a decent dousing of rain for New England Monday night into Tuesday with the most rain falling over western New England. This would be welcome in Vermont as the state has missed much of the rain from New England's storms throughout the spring.

Much of the state is abnormally dry and a moderate drought has developed across portions of northern Vermont. Vermont is most at risk of continued drought development should rainfall continue to be elusive.

US Drought Monitor as of June 6th:

After the passage of the cold front, a secondary area of low pressure may develop near New England in response to the front. This would allow showers and potentially afternoon thunderstorms to linger into Wednesday. Depending on how quickly (or slowly) that low moves through, New England could be looking at another cloudy, unsettled week.

Despite the possibility of another cloudy, wet week, there are strong indications of seasonable temperatures, with 70s for most. This does not look like an exact repeat of this past week.


Choking wildfire smoke has enveloped southern New England over the past couple days. While northern New England has been saved from the smoke thanks to the cutoff low that has been parked near New England all week, the same low is responsible for sending thick plumes into southern New England.

Aerosol map for Thursday afternoon showing northern New England all clear while southern New England (and to the west) remains an issue:

Connecticut, in particular, has been hit hard by the smoke. On Wednesday, many after school activities and sports were forced to cancel as air quality dipped into the hazardous range. Air quality alerts remain in effect for Connecticut, Rhode Island, western Massachusetts and southern Vermont through midnight tonight.

This pattern change is going to have a significant impact on smoke coverage and give New England (and the eastern seaboard as a whole) relief from the choking plumes. Air quality will likely improve slightly for southern New England Friday, but will likely remain an issue through the weekend, especially for Connecticut. Smoke, to a much lesser extent, will likely spread into northern New England, particularly Maine, over the weekend.

The real relief from the smoke will come early next week, as the storm system approaches from the west. As mentioned before, winds will be out of the south on Monday. This will help keep the smoke contained in Canada.

Wildfire smoke will likely come and go throughout much of the summer for the United States as Canada faces one its worst wildfire seasons ever. New England has now faced smoke and air quality issues from fires western Canada, Nova Scotia and Quebec. New England also saw a busy brush fire season this past spring. The largest wildfire in Rhode Island in decades broke out in April, forcing evacuations.



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