Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sept. 2, So It’s Fall: How I Figure Out the Seasons (Sept. 2, 2007)

Since I have always lived in a four-season climate, living either in Pittsburgh or Buffalo all my life, I have always been quite attuned to the changing of the seasons.

I figure there are three ways of calculating the seasons. First is the calendar: More or less the 20th of March, June, September and December announce the beginning of whichever season, as most people commonly accept.

Second, as inferred by the title of this blog, I choose to observe the first day of each of those months as the beginning of the season. September's weather, even early September, usually resembles autumn weather more than summer, December's more like winter than autumn, March more like spring than winter, and June more like summer than spring. Already in September we find ourselves closing the windows at night because it's starting to get darned chilly before daybreak.

Third, I note that about one month after the official beginning of each season, the weather is the most like that season. About the 20th of October the trees are in full color (past that, farther north). About the 20th of January it is the coldest. About the 20th of April everything is green and growing fast. And about the 20th of July it is the hottest.

So here it is, September. The birds are flocking. The lines at the ice cream store are not quite as long as they were, even on the weekends. Whole days go by when the very idea of flipping on the A/C does not cross my mind. We don't need the fans running overnight. Yeah, we're past peak heat. Chances of another day in the high 90s fade with each passing sunset. I suspect we'll hear of a low in the 40s before we again see a predicted high over 95. (As I write, the predicted highs and lows for the next few days are 81-53-84-55-82-57-81-60-86-63-83-63-80.)

We're a long way from snow yet. The earliest I've seen it in Pittsburgh was October 11, 1988. The earliest big snow in Pittsburgh was the Halloween 1993 snowstorm. So winter and winter-like weather is still many weeks away. Still, that threshold has been crossed. We're done with summer.

* * * End original post * * *
* * * Original comments from 2007 * * *

Natasha Rene'e

how fantastic to live somewhere with real seasons. here in south texas we have summer and december.

  • Stuart Strickland

    And people are starting to agree with me. It's CHILLY out. The hottest it's been since I posted that blog was 91 on the 6th. It hit 50 last night, but tonight we're skipping the 40s altogether, with a forecast low of THIRTY-eight. Today's forecast high is only 61.

    I'm guessing now that we'll see frost here, near Pittsburgh itself, before the end of September (some counties near Buffalo are seeing it tonight), a couple of flakes in the air on October 30, a white coating to the grass on November 8, and enough to plow and salt for on November 14. I don't think we'll see the schools closed because of snow until 2008 sometime.

  • Stuart Strickland

    December in South Texas would be ... pls help me out here, I haven't a clue.

    December in Buffalo is not so much cold (high 43, low 31) as subject to the occasional lake-effect snowstorm. It could be blue-sky beautiful in one town, two-inch-an-hour blizzard four miles to the south.

    Summer in Buffalo would be difficult to improve upon. Daily highs in the high 80s or low 90s, with a steady 15 mph breeze off the lake. It's never once been 100 in Buffalo. (See for a brief primer to understanding Buffalo's built-in A/C unit and monster snowstorm generator.)

    December days in Pittsburgh are a tad warmer (high 48, low 30), with here and there a few flakes, but only infrequently would we get a whole lot of snow at once.

    Pittsburgh summer days feature fog in the morning, blue skies with huge clouds building somewhere all day, and a very localized pounding thunderstorm around evening rush hour, but not enough breeze anywhere else to make a difference. Later evenings it gets cool, so I turn on the window fans to cool the house overnight.

    December in either Buffalo or Pittsburgh, no windows are open, anywhere, anytime, and the furnace runs 12 hours a day.

No comments: