Is Indian Summer Coming? (10-23-12)

<B>(5:45 pm Tuesday October 23rd)</B>70 degree weather is still in the cards for later this week but does it fit the definition of 'Indian Summer?"
It was certainly a miserable day across central New York Tuesday.  The steady rain kept our temperatures in the 50s today but while this was happening over us, temperatures in the mid 70s were as close to us as southwest Pennsylvania!

We are still on target to get into that 70 degree weather here in central New York by the end of the week as a warm front moves to our north but does that warmth qualify as Indian Summer? If you talk to ten different people on the street, you’ll get ten different answers.  I heard from one person earlier today that said you couldn’t have Indian Summer until later in the Fall or early in the Winter.  It doesn’t help when a reliable source as the American Meteorological Society gives us a rather vague definition:

A period, in mid- or late autumn, of abnormally warm weather, generally clear skies, sunny but hazy days, and cool nights. In New England, at least one killing frost and preferably a substantial period of normally cool weather must precede this warm spell in order for it to be considered a true “Indian summer.” Glossary of Meteorology

Those two sentences certainly leaves things open to interpretation.  How long does the warm have to be to qualify as ‘Indian Summer?” Two days, 3 days, a week?  Several years back I had someone call the office after a single warm fall day insisting that’s all we needed for Indian summer.

Next comes the term “abnormally warm weather.” As our ‘normal’ temperatures are steadily dropping through the fall season it’s almost like a moving target. In fact, this time of year our normal high temperature drops a degree every four days. 60 degree weather probably would not be considered ‘Indian Summer’ warmth late in September in Syracuse but by November (when our normal high is in the upper 40s or low 50s) that kind of weather would be called balmy.

So what about the end of this week? We’ve got 70s in the forecast for both Thursday and Friday with dry weather and above normal temperatures possible into early Saturday.

The bottom line is, yes, our end of the week weather probably fits the definition of ‘Indian Summer’

Enjoy that warmth.  There is still the potential for stormy weather along the East Coast early next week.  At this point there is still plenty of uncertainty about where what is now tropical storm Sandy moves after this weekend. We’ll be focusing on that potential in future blogs as we head toward the end of the week.
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