This time last week it looked like a cold front might steer Hurricane Matthew right toward us. Turns out, that wasn’t a completely crazy idea.
As I write this, the center of Matthew is battering the coast of SC, about 775 miles southwest of us. Hilton Head Island Airport reported a wind gust to 85 mph and a gust to 87 mph this morning while they were in the outer eyewall of Matthew. While that’s impressive, Matthew is not quite as strong as it was. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Matthew to a Category 1 hurricane at 8 am this morning. Strong winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere are starting to tear at Matthew and pull it apart so Matthew should continue to weaken over the next couple of days.
The same winds that are tearing at Matthew are also pulling some of that tropical moisture in this direction. That moisture is feeding into a cold front that is headed this way. The front will bring us much cooler weather for the second half of the weekend. That hasn’t changed. But, what once looked like a fairly dry front, will now bring most of eastern MA a good chance of rain. We won’t be getting any of the outer rainbands from the hurricane or even any of the remnants as it dissipates in a few days. Think of the cold front as the weather equivalent of Robin Hood…stealing rain from the southeast, where it is NOT needed, and bringing it to the northeast, where it is desperately needed.
So sunshine will gave way to increasing clouds on Saturday. A spotty shower can’t be ruled out very late in the day, but most of the area will stay dry until the overnight hours. Scattered showers become likely Saturday night into Sunday morning. As the front stalls out near the coast, rain becomes likely for most of eastern MA on Sunday. I know everyone is concerned about the Sox game on Sunday afternoon…for reasons that have nothing to do with weather! But as far as the weather is concerned, the rain will very slowly creep south and east as we head through the day. So, by first pitch, I am expecting most of the rain to be south and east of Boston…mainly on the Cape and the Islands. Still, it could be close. If I had to bet on the game…the weather that is…I would bet the game goes on as scheduled, but I can’t rule out a brief rain delay.
While eastern MA sees clouds and rain on Sunday, western MA might see some peeks of sun late in the day. Skies clear everywhere for Monday but despite the sunshine, temps will be a bit cooler than normal…upper 50s to low 60s.
The rest of the week looks pretty quiet. Another cold front arrives on Thursday. That front will also bring us a shot of cool air to finish out the workweek. However, without any tropical moisture like its predecessor, Thursday’s front brings us little to no chance of rain.
As for Matthew’s ultimate fate…good question! The official forecast from the NHC calls for it to curve east, away from NC Saturday night then slowly weaken over the next couple of days. It’s possible Matthew could fall apart much before that. Most likely Matthew will eventually merge with the same front off of the coast of the Carolinas. But complicating the issue even more…we have Tropical Storm Nicole not too far away. It’s possible the two tropical cyclones could merge or interact with each other. We will have to wait and see what becomes of the once mighty Matthew.