Manhattanhenge returns, cooler air in control

Just before sunset tonight, the sun will line up with Manhattan’s street grid in a marvelous and picturesque alignment known as Manhattanhenge. Crowned by Neil deGrasse Tyson in reference to Stonehenge, the alignment of the sun on Manhattans streets draws thousands of photographers and tourists during the multiple times which it occurs each year. The phenomenon would occur on the Summer and Winter equinoxes if Manhattans grid was aligned perfectly north to south, but instead the grid is tilted by about 30 degrees east — so it occurs on odd days throughout the year.

Tonight, just after 8pm, the sun will set between the tall buildings of New York City — visible if you are facing west. The best views are typically on the major cross-streets of 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th. The sun will set below the horizon at 8:16pm. Today’s Manhattanhenge will only be a half-disk sun — but Friday’s will feature a full disk sunset down the center of the aforementioned east-side streets.

As warm as the sunset may look (should the clouds move out of the way), the weather is quite crisp for this time of year. A backdoor cold front which moved through the area on Wednesday has brought with it an influx of cold, damp marine air. Temperatures fell 20 degrees cooler on Wednesday than they were on Tuesday, and on Thursday morning many areas observed low temperatures in the 40’s. Some in Connecticut and farther northeast into New England saw low temperatures in the mid to upper 30’s.

The forecast for the next few days features slightly moderating temperatures as the backdoor cold front washes out. This will help mitigate the northeasterly fetch –and a building high pressure will help as some breaks in the clouds are expected as early as Thursday morning and afternoon. High temperatures will move into the 70’s on Friday and continue rising slightly throughout the weekend. Northerly winds will continue on the periphery of an upper level low to our east/northeast — and daytime heating could help spark showers and thunderstorms on both Saturday and Sunday.

NAM model forecasting a rebound in high temperatures by this weekend.

NAM model forecasting a rebound in high temperatures by this weekend.

Unsettled weather looks likely to return by the middle part of next week. As has been the case many times this Spring, a mid level ridge will build over the Central US and attempt to surge northeastward towards our area. But an active pattern and lower than normal heights over Eastern Canada and New England will keep troughiness in the area — and unsettled weather is likely as our area remains on the periphery of a warmup.