Meteorologist Dave Epstein is also a horticulturist, meaning he’s an expert on anything that grows leaves and flowers. GBH’s Morning Edition asked our audience for weather and gardening questions, and Dave graciously answered them on the air. This transcript has been edited for clarity.
What’s the forecast for Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend?
Despite some unseasonal warmth this week, autumn is here. Expect warmer days and cooler night, Epstein said. Friday should see highs in the 70s in Boston, and overnight lows in the 50s.
Saturday will be breezy, with light rain possible mid-day and highs around 55, Epstein said. The South Shore can expect slightly warmer temperatures, but not by much.
“We’ve got a chilly night Saturday night,” Epstein said. Some frost is possible west of 495, he said, but “no need to worry in greater Boston.”
Sunday’s daytime temperatures will again rise into the 60s. Monday will be in the 60s as well, with “sunshine and very light winds,” Epstein said.
When will the first frost come this year?
Gardeners, be ready. The first frost of the year is approaching — but it won’t hit everyone at once.
Communities west of 495 should be ready for a frost Saturday night.
“Those folks who live west of 495 are under the gun late in the first week to the second week of October,” Epstein said. “Then the second to third week in October, it starts to spread to the 128 belt. And we really have to wait until November in Boston before we start seeing frosty conditions.”
For humans, that means winter coats, gloves and hats should come out. For gardens, it means hoop houses should be ready for any crops that are still growing — and that gardening tools might have to go into storage until spring.
Eastern Massachusetts got a lot of rain last week. Are we still in a drought?
After a dry summer, in which most of Massachusetts was under extreme drought conditions, Epstein said he welcomed the heavy rain. Looking around to lawns and gardens, he said it seems most topsoil has recovered from the drought, but groundwater reserves are still recovering.
“Everybody looks at their lawns. They’re basically green again,” Epstein said. “Plants at the top seem happy. But deep down in terms of watersheds and things like that, we still need rain and we’re still in a drought. So it’s more hydrological rather than agricultural.”
Sunrise is coming later and later. When is the latest sunrise of the year?
Days will keep getting shorter until Dec. 21, the winter solstice. But the latest sunrise on the clock is the day before we move back to standard time by setting the clocks back an hour.
“The morning of Nov. 6, the sun rises at 6:23 a.m. after rising at 7:22 a.m. the morning before,” Epstein said. “But the sun sets at 4:31 p.m. after setting at 5:32 p.m. the day before. So it’s a little tradeoff.”