Sensational Cloud Pattern | NECN
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Weather New England

Meteorologists' Observations on the Weather

Sensational Cloud Pattern



    Arthur Francis
    Arthur Francis took this photo of the mackerel sky in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween.

    On an apparently quiet, seasonable Halloween, there was a lot of drama up in the sky.

    Especially apparent was the sensational cloud pattern in at trick-or-treat time, right around sunset.

    Cloud watchers throughout southern New England had many of the same observation of a rare Alto-Cumulus quilted appearance.

    This cloud formation is know as a mackerel sky.

    An necn viewer on Cape Cod, Jim Spinelli, saw me mention mackerel sky and took the opportunity to share with us the name's origin.

    Hey, Tim:

    Very interesting. While coming back from Woodstock, Vermont yesterday late afternoon I notice exactly what you mentioned – Mackerel cloud formation.

    Those wonderful old Italians as well as the other Mediterranean seafaring people knew. They, from experience, knew the weather that was coming by the day’s previous sky and cloud formation.

    The Italians would say <<acqua a pecore acqua cadente>> meaning if the clouds look like the fleece on sheep then water is to fall from the sky the next day.

    Your Italian lesson for the day: acqua=water, pecore=sheep, cadente=falling(we get the word cadence from it).

    Many other old weather sayings, too, are so accurate originating from these old fishermen of generations passed; e.g.: Red skies by night.....; Red skies in the morning.... etc.

    I believe there is a website for these wonderful old but accurate weather sayings. If, interested, I’ll see if I can find it for you on the website.

    Even planting seeds, or setting in a veg garden in the spring the old belief holds true to plant 3 days before full moon – all of what exists in the world in the universe is part of a greater unique undivided inseparable whole – science is very interesting stuff!!!

    I taught foreign languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish), biology, and coached tennis in another school district – now very happily retired!!
    Clouds are interesting stuff.

    Your weather presentations are terrific, educational and fun.

    Many thanks

    Yes, we did get a bit of rain in New England for our first day of November. There were even some thunderstorms over Montreal. The atmosphere is energized.

    Meteorologist Weir Lundsteadt of the National Weather Service makes forecasts for planes flying high over New England. He says the upper level wind, or jet stream, is "as strong as I have ever seen it this time of year, it's more like a winter strength Jet."

    He tweeted this graphic for the Air Traffic Controllers he advises.

    That upper level is generated because of the expansive cold across Canada and the North Pole, contrasted by the El Nino fed warm air across much of the United States. The Pacific Northwest and mountains of California get mountain snow this week as the east warms up.

    But the storm track across Canada will pull warm air from the Deep South all the way into the northeast for most of this first week of November. There is a slight challenge to the forecast, as a low pressure south of New England may try and keep an onshore breeze, cooling coastal areas a bit. We even have to consider a piece of that storm that flooded the deep south sneaking north into southern New England mid-week.

    But for most of New England, especially inland areas, the temperature will exceed 70 degrees Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

    Our next batch of cold air arrives with powerful front next Saturday night. Until then, we'll take a late summer bonus.

    A Look back our necn weather journal shows November 1994 had several days near 80 in the first week of the month. This year will not be quite that warm, at least at the early call, but we will average 10-20 degrees above the climatological average temperatures before the next potent front arrives Saturday or so.

    Winter of 1994-95 was a dud for snowfall in southern New England. That was an outlier, though, as record snows fell in 93-94 and again in 95-96, 93.7" & 107.6" respectably in Boston.

    Last winter's 110.6" in Boston broke the record from 95-96.

    The weather pendulum swings hard.

    It's way too early to write off this winter. But no way (he says with such bravado) will we match last year.

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