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By Bob Valen 

The autumn months are here

Weather Watcher

 


So many folks speak of the autumn months as one of their favorite times of the year, and I’m one of them. Temperatures are moderating from the heat of summer, and there’s a bit of a chill in the morning air as leaves begin to turn those brilliant colors. We’ll return to this subject shortly.

First, let’s take a look at the month of September and see what it brought us weather-wise. As you may have predicted, we were down on precipitation. We measured just 0.17 inches of precipitation here at the home weather station, and most of it came on the 17th of the month. The all-time precipitation mean for the month is 0.49 inches. Temperatures did start moderating a bit, with a high for the month of 92.9°F and only two days at 90°F or greater (the all-time high for September is 104°F in 1938). The all-time mean temperature is 63.8°F, while this September’s mean temperature came in at 60.6°F. A cooling trend has established as we enter autumn 2015.

Autumn is defined as “the season between summer and winter, comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of September, October, and November or as reckoned astronomically extending from the September equinox to the December solstice, a period of maturity.” The harvest is generally completed during this period. I put together the below chart that shows averages and means for the three months of autumn for the Grand Coulee area.

Month Avg. Min. Temp. Avg. Max. Temp. Mean Temp. Mean

Precip.

Sept. 50.3°F 77.2°F 71.9°F 0.49”

Oct. 40.6°F 61.5°F 51.1°F 0.72”

Nov. 31.4°F 43.6°F 37.5°F 1.24”

These numbers really do illustrate the transition we go through as autumn rolls through and takes us into the winter months. With the current active El Niño I’ll be comparing these numbers with actuals.

The Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is continuing to show our region of the country as having above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation as we go through the autumn months.

Let’s turn attention skyward, now, to see what we might be seeing. From our friends at EarthSky.org: “The most noticeable planet this month is dazzling Venus in the east before dawn. Look in the direction of sunrise as dawn begins to light the sky. Next, in that same part of the sky, you’ll notice Jupiter, second-brightest planet. Fainter Mars is also in the morning sky, beneath Venus. Saturn is the lone evening planet this month, setting at early evening from mid-northern latitudes and at mid-evening from temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. Mercury will make a fine appearance in the morning sky for the Northern Hemisphere for a few weeks, centered on mid-October.”

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