SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR) – The seasonal transition from summer to fall doesn’t always mean a rapid transition away from the warm temperatures.

The reason behind this comes from a phenomenon known as “seasonal lag”. It essentially means that the last date the Earth sees the most direct incoming sunlight doesn’t line up with the last date we see the warmest average temperatures. There is essentially some “lag” time, or delay as it takes time for temperatures to catch up to the initial change in sun angle that comes with the changing seasons.

For perspective, by the time fall rolls around in late September the average high temperature for Syracuse is already in the low 70s. That doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to get brief “bursts” of 80 degree warmth from time to time.

With that in mind, as summer comes to a close later this week and the autumn Equinox begins on Thursday, September 22nd we’re still forecasting highs in the mid 70s and low 80s.

As this “summer” like warmth often sticks around into the first half of the fall months, when do we average our last day of 80 degree warmth?

It is actually October 1st based on 1991-2020 30 year data.  The earliest last 80 degree day on record is August 26th in 1975, latest November 7, 1938.  Last year it was September 20th

 Some other average ‘last’ dates include:

90 degrees August 24th

70 degrees November 4

60 degrees November 29

Did you know? The highest number of 80 degree days in October was 9 in 1947? In October 1963 we had 7 80 degrees days.

We hit 82 degrees in October once back in 2021, and the warmest we got in October of 2021 last year was 79 degrees (4 times). Time will tell if the 80s make a comeback for October of 2022 as it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory