Rare summer nor'easter could bring lingering taste of fall

·4 min read

Tumbling temperatures this weekend could be here to stay. Canadian air, combined with a rare nor'easter could keep it feeling like September in the Northeast into next week.

Cities like Philadelphia and New York City were running 4-5 degrees above normal for the start of the month and reaching the 90-degree mark more than a handful of days. Philadelphia residents endured a longer stretch of hot conditions, where the persistent heat resulted in a 10-day heat wave. Boston's heat wave finally came to an end earlier this week after the city reached at least 95 F for six days in a row. During this stretch, the city set new daily record highs on four of the six days as temperatures fell just shy of triple digits.

Thanks to a new air mass moving southward from Canada, temperatures throughout this weekend in much of the Northeast were noticeably lower than during the first two weeks of August.

Temperatures took a nosedive across the interior Northeast Saturday morning. Cities like Rochester, New York and Pittsburgh dropped down to around 50 degrees, the lowest temperature recorded since early June and temperatures more akin to late-September. Some areas in Pennsylvania and New York even dropped down into the 40s for a couple hours Saturday morning.

Through early week, the fall-like conditions are expected to persist, with much of the region forecast to have high temperatures in the lower and middle 70s to the lower 80s.

Even more noticeable than the cooler air is the lack of humidity throughout the weekend. Dew points were commonly reaching the upper 60s and lower 70s earlier in the month, but were only in the 50s throughout the weekend, keeping it much more comfortable.

The origins of what could become a summer nor'easter will spread impacts farther south on Monday, including across much of the Southeast. These impacts should be more typical for summer, with thunderstorms potentially turning severe during the afternoon and evening hours on Monday. Residents in cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, and Charlotte, North Carolina, will likely be dodging intense storms during that time, which may be capable of hail and damaging wind gusts.

A storm developing across the mid-Atlantic on Monday will allow for showers across the southern half of the Northeast, and thunderstorms in cities like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. High pressure is expected to keep northern New England dry on Monday.

AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring where this storm could go as it moves off the coast into Tuesday.

"As the week progresses, the track and position of the storm will determine how wet it will get in New England, including in cities like Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Joseph Bauer. One likely possibility is for a nor'easter to develop well off the coast.

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A nor'easter is a type of large storm that is aptly named for the strong northeasterly winds they can produce. While these storms can bring some of the biggest impacts to the beaches of the Northeast when they occur, they are also often associated with a heavy helping of snow, based on the time of year that they are most common.

"Roughly 80% of nor'easters occur between the months of October and April, so to get one in August is not the norm," explained Bauer.

Bauer added that nor'easters can happen at any time of the year, but tendencies in the jet stream during the summer months make it more rare for them to occur in August.

If the storm transitions into a nor'easter, wet weather is likely in portions of the region, especially on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and from part of the Maine coast to Atlantic Canada. While most portions of the U.S. coast are likely to miss the heaviest rainfall, impacts will still be felt nonetheless.

Showers and cool breezes may pester beach goers. "However, a potential greater hazard for swimmers will be an increase in the strength and number of rip currents with the brewing offshore storm," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

With an uptick in wave action expected, some minor beach erosion is possible.

Increased cloud cover for the Northeast would also hold down temperatures, bringing a delay to the return of widespread 80-degree days.

While this pattern would give residents and vacationers alike less time to get out and enjoy the outdoors during these last few weeks of summer, the region could really use the rain.

Much of the Northeast has been abnormally dry as of late, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As a whole, New England has been the hardest hit, with areas from eastern Connecticut to southern Maine in a severe drought. Portland, Maine, has reported less than 50% of their normal rainfall since the beginning of June.

Portions of Rhode Island and Massachusetts are in an extreme drought, including the Greater Boston area. Since June 1, Boston has only recorded 3.21 inches of rain, more than 5 inches less than normal for the summer.

Released earlier this month, AccuWeather's long-range forecasters explained in the AccuWeather Fall Forecast that warmer-than-normal conditions will eventually return, and persist, through much of September.

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