Here's Why It's Raining Every Weekend in the Northeast, According to Science
The weather appears to be stuck in a pattern, experts say.
Rainy days are nice once in a while, giving you an excuse to hang inside and stream a feel-good movie or crack open a new book. But when it's constantly "raining on your parade," you likely start to resent those stormy days. Lately, lousy weather has been plaguing people in the Northeast—and making matters worse, the skies have been consistently opening up on the weekends. It may feel like a stroke of bad luck, but apparently, science can explain some aspects of these weather patterns. Read on to find out why it's been rainy every weekend.
Bad weather will continue to interrupt plans this weekend.
For the past several weekends, rain has fallen in the Northeast. According to The New York Times, in Manhattan, not only has this led to canceled plans and events, but downpours also damaged the Great Lawn at Central Park—which is now closed until April 2024. Those training for the New York City Marathon have also had issues dodging puddles while preparing for the race on Nov. 5, the NYT reported.
Things aren't going to change this weekend, either, as the National Weather Service predicts that more rainfall is coming through, Gothamist reported. This will be the seventh straight weekend of rain for New York and the sixth straight weekend of rain for New Jersey.
Here's why the weather has been so dismal.
According to NY Metro Weather, the weather pattern is "seemingly cyclic," but there's more to the story. The outlet reports that rain every weekend in the Northeast is because of a high latitude block, which is "an area of dominant high pressure" that's in the higher latitudes of Central Canada. The blocks can slow down storms, decide where they go, and even cause storms to merge.
The high latitude blocks in Canada are known to affect our weather here in the U.S.—and specifically in the Northeast. According to NY Metro Weather, because of where this block is currently located, it is directing several storms to this region. Making things more complicated, the outlet reports that "a new disturbance seems to enter the pattern every six or seven days," thus leaving those in the Northeast with rainy Saturdays and Sundays.
Jay Engle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told Gothamist that the Northeast has had more rainfall in the last three months, offering a simpler—but still scientific—explanation.
"Sometimes you just get locked into a certain weather pattern for a while," Engle told the outlet. "It's what we call 'persistence.' And unfortunately, the rain has been persistent on our weekends—or in and around our weekends—for almost a month and a half now."
There are some myths about rainy weather patterns.
Given what we know about the high latitude blocks, it's also important to dispel a popular myth about weekend rain. According to reporting by Insider in 2018, scientists say there is no such thing as the "weekend effect," a theory that suggests rain occurs on Saturdays and Sundays because of weekday pollution.
Per the theory, air pollution from cars and factories sends more aerosols into the atmosphere, which then become building blocks for clouds (and by extension, rain) when water condenses on them. However, this can actually have the opposite effect, as more aerosols can crowd each other, create smaller cloud droplets, and promote less rainfall, Insider explained.
While pollution may play a small part in rainy weekends, the outlet also pointed to a Nov. 2007 study, which found no connection between the days of the week and the occurrence or amount of rain.
Science also suggests some psychological effects.
Data clearly shows that it's rained for the past six to seven weekends, depending on where you live—and it's understandable to be disheartened when bad weather interrupts plans.
But as Insider reported, experts say that under normal circumstances, we might just be more likely to remember rainy weekends. During the standard workweek, we're not as focused on being outside, but when the weekend rolls around, many people feel differently. So, when our weekends are a wash, it can cause strong feelings of disappointment, therefore taking up more space in our memory.