The Start of Meteorlogical Autumn
September 1, 2020
Did anyone notice last Sunday that someone flipped the switch from summer to fall? You could tell it was coming about a week before that… the days still boasted temperatures in the high seventies and low eighties but suddenly the nights were cooling well into the 50’s.
And then it happened. It was a noticeable ‘ping’… then another… and then another… on the windshield just around 5 p.m. Soon, a light drizzle. By the time the hubby and I left the restaurant where we had gone to celebrate our wedding anniversary on August 30th, it was honest to goodness rain and the temperature was 63 degrees.
Now, I will state right up front, I don’t much like autumn. I’m already missing summer. Soon I’ll have to put away my Capri’s and sandals. Soon the short sleeve shirts will be replaced by long sleeves and then turtlenecks, sweaters, and fleece. I’ll have to wear real socks and shoes; Raincoats and jackets.
You can keep your pumpkin spice everything, thank you very much.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m weather obsessed. I know when daylight savings ends and the dark times begin. (It’s November 1st this year!) I know the dates and details of some pretty incredible autumn wind storms. And I know that despite meteorological fall beginning today, September 1st, we will be lulled into thinking ‘oh this isn’t so bad’ when we get our mid-September heat for a few days. But the crisp mornings don’t lie.
Two years ago I discovered that for those of us who live in the northern half of the northern hemisphere, autumn does not truly begin on the Autumnal Equinox, usually on September 22nd. Nope. It actually begins on September 1st. When I learned this it was as if all those years of KNOWING – despite it not yet being official ‘fall’ in the Pacific Northwest – that it sure acted like and felt like Fall.
Don’t believe me? Then we need only go to the Infallible Wikipedia for confirmation:
“September is the ninth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the third of four months to have a length of 30 days, and the fourth of five months to have a length of less than 31 days. In the Northern Hemisphere September is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Southern Hemisphere.
In the Northern hemisphere, the beginning of the meteorological autumn is on 1 September. In the Southern hemisphere, the beginning of the meteorological spring is on 1 September. “
Don’t believe the Infallible Wikipedia? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association states on their website:
“Meteorologists and climatologists break the seasons down into groupings of three months based on the annual temperature cycle as well as our calendar. We generally think of winter as the coldest time of the year and summer as the warmest time of the year, with spring and fall being the transition seasons, and that is what the meteorological seasons are based on. Meteorological spring includes March, April, and May; meteorological summer includes June, July, and August; meteorological fall includes September, October, and November; and meteorological winter includes December, January, and February.”
All of this made me curious. When did meteorologists start using this system? Turns out they’ve had it a well kept secret since the mid-twentieth century.
I just wish they’d told me sooner. Then I wouldn’t have fought so hard against turning on my furnace before September 21st. Or tossing that blanket over me when I watch TV.
What I do know is that with fall now ‘officially’ started by the weather people, it means that in 91 days it will be winter and then only 90 days after that, its spring again! Hooray!
Those of us who are spring and summer lovers need all the support we can get.
For the rest whose favorite season is fall, just don’t feed me pumpkin spice or make me wear orange and we’ll get along just fine.
September 1, 2022: Got the following message from my son this morning: How is everything in the condo today? Did you also get a dramatic weather shift versus yesterday afternoon? And that, I think, sums up what happens this time of year. Yes, the weather can still be warm… but it’s coming. It is surely coming. Time to change my table cloth!