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New England's Weather This Past Week: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

After meandering back and forth between New England and Nova Scotia for the past eight days, the cut off low is finally being pushed away for good. The system gave New England a raw, dreary week to kick off meteorological summer. This system also solved some problems while simultaneously creating others.

First off, this system dropped rain across New England every single day since Saturday. While this rain was a nuisance for some in areas where the rain is not needed (southern New Hampshire, western Maine and much of southern New England), it also brought rain to the parts of the region where it is needed. This past week, two areas of moderate drought developed in New England, one in northern Vermont and one in northern Maine.

The US Drought Monitor map is released every Thursday, but takes into account rainfall from Tuesday morning-Tuesday morning. So, the rain that fell from noon Tuesday through Thursday was not included in this update and will be factored into next week's update. Note: Yellow is "abnormally dry" and tan is "moderate drought".

Both of these areas received bouts of showers and rain. While northern Vermont didn't get much, northern Maine saw anywhere from a quarter of an inch to 2 inches. What was beneficial about this rain for Maine is that it fell at a lighter rate for several days on end. This is much more helpful to alleviate dry conditions than one single deluge followed by a period of dry weather.

Estimated rainfall this past week:

When it comes to temperatures, it depends on your personal preference on whether or not this was part of "the good" or the "the bad". Much of New England, particularly eastern New England struggled most of the week to get past the 65 degree mark. Much of Maine couldn't even get close to that mark, failing to reach 60. Boston's high this past weekend was over 20 degrees below average. Mt. Washington's summit has received about 5 inches of snow this month, which is 3.7 inches above the monthly average. The all time record for the month is 8 inches.

This system had a major impact on both Canadian wildfires and the smoke associated with those fires. These impacts were simultaneously good and bad. The good is that this storm lingered around Nova Scotia, where massive fires broke out in Late May. The fires forced many to evacuate, destroyed hundreds of houses and burned nearly 25,000 hectacres. These fires also sent smoke plumes into New England.

Barrington Lake fire in Nova Scotia:

Credit: Nova Scotia Government

As the storm sat around the area, it dropped rain right over the most fire-stricken areas. Last weekend, Nova Scotia Premier (head of government) Tim Houston said at a press conference:

"If you step outside you will see something beautiful: rain, and hopefully lots of it."

After last weekend, the only fire that remained out of control was the Barrington Lake Fire in Shelburne County. Rain continued to fall sporadically across the province throughout the week. As of Friday, June 9, the fire is classified as "being held", meaning it is no longer spreading out of control. Also on June 9, all remaining evacuation orders were lifted in the county.

Now for the bad. The position of this system on Wednesday and Thursday sent thick plumes of smoke from massive Quebec fires into the United States. Air quality across much of southern New England and New York City on Wednesday was at very unhealthy to even hazardous levels.

An otherworldly glow appeared on Wednesday afternoon across these areas as outdoor events and activities had to be postponed and canceled. The smoke plume was very slow to exit. Bridgeport, Connecticut's air quality rose to "unhealthy" at 9 am on June 6 and would not fall below that level until 1 am on June 9, a total of 64 hours.

Bridgeport, Connecticut air quality this past week:

While the system sent dangerous plumes of smoke into southern New England, its position kept northern New England mostly in the clear. Air quality did jump to "moderate" on June 7, but not to unhealthy levels.

Aerosol map showing a stark contrast between northern and southern New England on June 8:

While this system created a less-than-ideal weather week for New England and caused some problems, it did help to solve some other problems. The yin-yang of the weather became very apparent this week.



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