Commonwealth Journal

October 23, 2012

Wet, cool weekend will end Indian Summer

By BILL MARDIS, Editor Emeritus
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

The current spell of beautiful late October weather — some call it Indian Summer — is about to end. The coming weekend is expected to start out wet and cool and end up with another round of frost.
The coldest morning will be Monday when the temperature is expected to drop to about 32 degrees. This is sufficiently cold to form a big frost, but is short of a hard freeze that has not occurred so far this fall.
It takes temperatures in the upper 20s to end the growing season that started this year during unusual warmth in March. Although the 10-day outlook appears to be below average, there is no indication of temperatures much lower than the freezing mark during the forecast period.
John Jacobson, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Jackson, said a cold front will move across the area on Saturday, dropping the temperature from about 60. By Sunday morning, the temperature will be in the upper 30s with a high Sunday about 52. It will be near the freezing mark on Monday morning, he said.
Temperatures in the 30s have been commonplace this autumn. Frosty mornings started earlier than normal. It was 39 on September 23; 36 on September 24; and 37 on September 25.
There has been frost on the pumpkin, but October has not been unusually cold. It was 35 on October 9; 34 on October 10; 32 on October 11 and 12; 39 on October 18; and 38 on October 21. 
Peak leaf color is normally this week in October, but many of the leaves are already down due to gusty winds on a couple of days. If you recall, foliage came out about three weeks early this past spring because of the warmth.
Interestingly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released its weather outlook for December through January. However, the prediction center left this area of the country in doubt. 
It said the western part of the United States will be warmer and drier and Florida will be colder. Weather in other parts of the country will be iffy because El Nino didn’t form as expected.
El Nino, an abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific, is one part of what's called the Southern Oscillation. It affects the weather and since it didn’t form we could be warm, lukewarm or cold, take your pick.
Were it not for the woolly worms we wouldn’t have a clue. Folk wisdom holds that woolly worms can predict winter weather; the darker the fur, the colder the weather. Most woolly worms in this area are solid black, an indication of extended cold.
Local temperatures courtesy of Clear Channel Communications