Most of us had our first widespread frost or freeze last week, so you know what that means? The talk of Indian Summer is starting.
I took my first Indian Summer phone call of the season recently asking of course Are we going to get an Indian Summer this year?. Great question. First though, let TMs tackle the issue of exactly what is Indian Summer.
The term 'Indian Summer' typically stirs up more than just casual talk because there has always been much debate about what it actually means.In my 35+ years in the weather business, the two most common definitions I have heard are a period of unseasonably nice and mild weather after the first snow and a period of unseasonably nice and mild weather after the first frost. Before I get to what we in the weather biz consider Indian Summer, let me give you a quick history of this misunderstood term.
Looking back at historical writings in journals, the term Indian Summer dates back to at least the year 1778 in the United States, apparently written by a Frenchman named St. John de Crevecoeur, although we aren TMt sure of his location. Another reference to the term was in a journal dated October 13, 1794 written in the present day city of Erie, Pennsylvania. The fact is, we just don TMt know for sure where and when it started.The one thing these very old journal entries have in common is the general reference to a tranquil atmosphere of calm and warmth with no sign of winter. Even today, I think we TMd all generally agree with that.
There are also several references that this unusually nice and mild spell of weather encouraged the Indians to finish up harvesting and other outdoor chores. Several other somewhat more questionable theories are also out there, but this seems to be the best educated guess.So, what do we as meteorologists consider Indian Summer? For that, we check the American Meteorological Society TMs Glossary of Meteorology, which is essentially the bible of weather terms for all meteorologists. Here is the official definition A period in mid or late autumn of abnormally warm weather, generally clear skies, sunny and hazy days and cool nights. In New England (and generally the northeast), at least one killing frost and preferably a period of normally cool weather must proceed this warm spell for it to be considered a true Indian Summer. It does not occur every year, and in some years two or three Indian Summers may occur.So here we are making our way towards the end of October. So far in October, we have had no stretch of unseasonably warm weather, other than a 73 degree day on the 8th, and there won TMt be any real warm weather at least into the start of next week. There are signs of a day or two of unseasonably warm weather ahead the middle of next week around the 26th and 27th. And, don TMt rule out a real stretch of warm weather sometime in November. This would be more of a true Indian Summer IF it happens.
Indian Summer is always nice, but for now, we just wait and see. But, keep in mind what was said earlier. It does not occur every year, and in some years two or three Indian Summers may occur. Two or three Indian Summers this Fall. Yes| I could go for that! How about you?
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