Smoke from wildfires in our New England skies is probably the most conspicuous feature of today’s weather, blown away by the winds of the jet stream. Swift air at high altitudes generally drives storms, but today it has captured a plume of smoke from massive fires in the western United States, carrying it overhead.
For now, this smoke is only filtering the sun and adding a gray cast to our sky, although as our wind picks up on Wednesday and Thursday, some of this smoke may begin to descend. We will be monitoring air quality in the coming days, particularly in the mountains of northern New England.
If it weren’t for the smoke from the wildfires, the biggest story on Tuesday would likely have been the beginning of freezing, the end of the growing season in New England’s Great North Woods, and frost across much of northern New England. Temperatures were in the mid-30s, reported as far south as the Boston suburbs of Interstate 95.
Residents of the coast are seeing a second day of strong surf, waves of four to eight feet that project hundreds of miles west of Hurricane Paulette, now crossing the North Atlantic. The storm is responsible for rip currents along the New England coast and for waves large and powerful enough to deter recreational boaters from taking to the water Tuesday, though Wednesday will bring improvements.
Even as the southwest wind picks up and delivers softer air on Wednesday and Thursday, dry air will remain in charge, limiting rainfall that develops along a cold front later Thursday. This is likely to be reinforced behind that front as well, retaining moisture associated with Hurricane Sally, which will make landfall near the Mississippi-Alabama border Tuesday night south of New England.