The Outlook: Here comes the sun

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"There's so much spring in the air,

there's so much lazy sweetness in your heart."

F. Scott Fitzgerald ("This Side of Paradise," debut novel, 1920)

By Clarence Fanto

Nine weeks beyond the vernal equinox, here comes summer, nearly a month before the solstice but more than welcome after a mostly bleak, chilly spring. It's as if we've skipped a grade in school or been offered a massive promotion at work.

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Memorial Day may start out cloudy, but sunshine and 70 degrees-plus is on the weather menu for the afternoon. After honoring our war dead, it's time to fill the swimming pool and install the air conditioner, if you're fortunate to have either one or both.

The forecast for the rest of the week looks like the calendar jumped ahead into late June — heat and humidity under a blazing sun — well into the 80s on Tuesday, more of the same on Wednesday, at least 15 degrees above normal for late May.

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By Wednesday night, warm and humid followed by another steamy day on Thursday with just a chance of thunderstorms and another muggy evening before a likely change to a more seasonable Friday as the leading edge of cooler air makes a run at western New England. There could be gusty winds, locally heavy winds and thunderstorms by Friday night.

The early line for next weekend looks promising with cooler, drier air, sunshine and highs maxing out close to 75.

Some weather notes beyond the Berkshires:

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- Potential torrential rainfall over the lower Mississippi Valley and a prolonged, intense hot spell with numerous record highs from the the West Coast and interior areas toward the Rockies from Wednesday to Friday.

- An extraordinary, indeed astonishing heat wave grips Siberia, with 80s near and above Arctic Circle, nearly 50 degrees above the normal high around freezing. Result: Numerous large wildfires and quick melt of sea ice and permafrost— an accelerant for global warming.

- An intense Atlantic hurricane season with 13 to 19 named storms is forecast; three to six could flare into major hurricanes, capable of inflicting devastating damage. Storm destinations are impossible to predict, as usual. The season officially extends from June through November, but Tropical Storm Arthur jumped the starting gun last week off the eastern U.S. coastline.

For the Northeast, the government's Climate Prediction Center calls for an abrupt switch to below-normal temps around June 1, following the taste of midsummer we'll enjoy (won't we?) until then.

The Outlook is today's look ahead at the week's weather, its impact on the Berkshires and beyond. Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com.


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