Monday, 29 September 2014

Was that Indian Summer?

NOAA satellite image of the foliage bursting out in reds. oranges and yellows across the Adirondacks, Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec this weekend.
 What a spectacular weekend in Montreal by any standards, let alone late September. Montreal just missed a record high on Saturday as we reached 26C (79F) officially at Trudeau Airport. However most other locations around the city were between 26C and 29C (79-85F). The record for the date was 26.6C (80F) set in 2003. I recorded 27.7C (82F) at my home on L'Ile Perrot. Sunday was an exact replica of Saturday with warm sunshine, humid and a light breeze. The temperature again reached between 25-27C (77-81F). High pressure responsible for the summer like weather has drifted off the east coast this morning and a very weak backdoor cold front has settled across the St. Lawrence Valley with clouds and a few sprinkles. The temperature remains mild for this time of year, currently at 18C (65F) it will slowly drop as winds turn out of the northeast in the valley and increase up to 50km/h. The normal high is 16C (60F). We will have clouds tonight and again Tuesday with temperatures settling back to near normal. By Wednesday more sunshine and above normal temperatures will return lasting through Friday when a strong cold front will approach Montreal. No really cold air is on the horizon however as the jet stream remains well to our north keeping the arctic air where it belongs.

Indian Summer
Sure it was a perfect weekend, but was that Indian Summer? The broad definition of the term Indian Summer, dating back to 1700's New England, varies depending on which source you look at. It has many different definitions and interpretations. It is generally defined as a period of above normal temperatures with hazy skies and warm southerly winds at least here in southern Quebec. It  can last several days with temperatures well above normal, and typically occurs after the first frost. According to Native Americans it occurred very late in the fall season between November 11 and 20. However the National Weather Service in the US has it occurring anywhere between late September and middle November. There was a light frost in southern Quebec on September 19, and that was a three day period of well above normal temperatures, so we may have indeed just had Indian Summer. But it is still early in the fall season and if that was Indian Summer, I expect it won't be the last.

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