THE RHODE ISLAND WEATHER REPORT
What lies ahead...
Several deep frosts are in the cards over the next several weeks. They are good for plants and will help them to enter a dormant period. The plant dormant period will last until buds begin to swell in early spring. This stretch is a good time to prune trees and shrubs. Insect pests and other disease causing agents are inactive and most environmental stressors have passed.
Finally, as of November 10 there are only 133 days before the official start of the 2018 plant growing season (April 1). The weather will change dramatically until we get there. The next few months will be the toughest: the days will be short, cold and wet. According to the Farmer's Almanac, more snow will fall in February than any other month. But there remains the chance of an early "warm up" by the end of the month, similar to what took place in 2016. March will be windy and icy but, also, sunnier as the days begin to get longer. Look for thawing soils after the Ides of March. They are the true indication of an early spring.
How hot was October 2017? How about the hottest October on record. The monthly average of 61°F exceeded the 100 year norm (52°F) by a whopping 9°F. Every reporting community shared in the warmth by recording average temperatures well above the norm.
Soils got much cooler in October dropping by about 6°F from their September average of 71°F. Month ending readings indicate this decrease will become greater and greater from here on out. As long as soils remain workable, this is still a good time for planting trees and shrubs.
October monthly average was way above the 30 year (4.5") and 100 year (3.8") norms. The total helped to break a three month trend of below average rainfall. Interestingly, nearly three-quarters of the rain in October fell in the last 8 days of the month. Some plants, showing symptoms of water stress by mid-month, welcomed the later arriving precipitation. Finally, October helped total rainfall accumulation during the 2017 plant growing season (April 1 to October 31) to end at 34.4". That's a water surplus of 5.4" when compared to the 30 year norm (29"). ... RI Tree Council...