Last Day of Summer
Today is officially the last day of summer according to the calendar. Fall begins at the Autumnal Equinox Saturday morning at 9:49 AM CDT. It has certainly felt like Fall lately around here, and there is another cold front on the way that will keep the cool air in place for a while longer!
Temperatures have been well below what is considered to be “normal” for this time of year since the first big front passed through the Tennessee Valley almost two weeks ago. Since September 8th, Huntsville’s daily temperature has been running about 5º below “normal.” “Normal” is the average of temperatures in the 30-year climate period: 1981 to 2010.
Five degrees does not seem like much, but when you are able to take an average down by 5 points, that is a pretty significant statistic. Five degrees below normal in January will make it feel brutally cold; five degrees above normal in July can often mean record-setting heat. This time around, we have not seen any records, but that’s not to say we couldn’t come close!
Record Lows for Huntsville:
Sunday: 40 (1913) …the forecast low for Huntsville is 45º
Monday: 41 (1981) …the forecast low for Huntsville is 43º
Record Lows for Muscle Shoals:
Sunday: 38 (1918) …the forecast low for Muscle Shoals is 44º
Monday: 40 (1928) …the forecast low for Muscle Shoals is 43º
If you’re wondering when to expect the first frost or freeze of the season, we still have a way to go! Here are the average first and last freeze dates for a few locations around the Tennessee Valley (via NWS Huntsville):
Here’s a map from the University of Alabama’s Map Library showing all of Alabama and the average first frost:
And, lastly, since Fall is almost officially here, a lot of folks are asking about Fall Foliage! Alabama Tourism has a great tool on their website at Alabama Travel that shows where the peak of the season normall occurs during a specific week. The heavy rain we had this week will really help get the Fall colors going over the next few days in Northeast Alabama; we will need another good rain in the next 3 weeks to make it a “spectacular” season, but that is looking rather unlikely at this point!