Meteorological fall has begun. Meteorological summer consists of the three hottest months of the year-June, July and August. This past meteorological summer was the 3rd warmest in 142 years of record keeping. It appears fall will continue the above normal streak that extends back even beyond summer. August was the 11th consecutive month that finished above average. The Climate Prediction Center's outlook for meteorological fall (September, October and November) has the vast majority of the country, including the midwest, with a 33% or more probability of experience above average temperatures for the period. The precipitation outlook isn't as clear. Most of the country, including the midwest, has equal chances of above or below normal precipitation.
Hard to believe but we are only about six weeks or so from peak fall colors in northern Illinois. Average high temperatures begin to drop by a little more than 3° per week now. The average high at the start of September was 80°, by the start of October that average high drops to 68°. November is the fastest cooling month of the year. The average high on November 1st is 56° but by the end of the month the average high drops to 40°.
Some news and notes about fall colors:
- the arrival of fall colors in the northeast has been delayed by about 3 days compared to 20 years ago
- a moderate drought is best for fall colors but anything worse can lead to leaves wilting, curling up and falling off too soon
- fall colors are already changing in the Northwoods where Eau Claire has already reached 50% of its peak colors
- trees in Oklahoma and Arkansas are losing leaves now, about two months ahead of schedule
- Check out the University of Illinois Extension's "Miracle of Fall" site to get updates and more on Illinois fall colors.