The Hot and Cold of October Weather

Today is October 22 and the weather here in Massachusetts continues warm and clear. Temperatures will reach into the seventies. Last year at this time the temperature stayed in a more seasonable range and autumn’s first snow was a week away.

Extended Indian Summer Weather

Has this extended Indian Summer come from global warming, El Niño, changing jet stream patterns, volcanic eruptions, or wildfires? Who knows? I’m not a meteorologist and I don’t play one on TV so I have no real explanations for this abnormal weather.

apple picking, apples, fall, orchardI just know it’s not normal to be picking apples, mulling cider, and carving pumpkins in our shirtsleeves. Fall traditionally means crisp days and cold nights, not warm sun and sleeping with wide-open windows.

The traditional fall household tasks, like rolling up the hoses, replacing screens with storm windows, and taking in the patio furniture, remain undone. We’re still reading books while sitting on the porch in the afternoons. I haven’t planted any spring bulbs because the annuals are still blooming. Normally, the frost has killed them by now.

My potted herbs remain green and fragrant. I haven’t had to take in my pet rosemary and trash the rest.

Ghost Tours and Playoffs

Last year at this time, I was leading ghost tours for Haunted Boston bundled up in turtleneck and winter jacket with gloves in my bag. I usually took the gloves out halfway along the route. This year I have been walking around Boston in shirtsleeves. I add a zip-up sweatshirt if it’s windy.

Boston Red Sox, ALDS, playoffs, 2021Unseasonably warm weather means the Boston Red Sox played post-season games minus thermal underwear, heating packs, and dugout warmers. They might as well have been in LA.

I should be glad. After all, New Englanders are saving a lot of money on heating costs. Those folks who play New England Heating Roulette—going as long as possible without turning on the heat—aren’t even donning an October sweater. The traditional first day of heating season — October 16 — is in the rear-view mirror yet we can leave the bedroom window open without piling quilts atop blankets.

The 10-Day Weather Forecast

It’s nice but just not the same. Next week the weather is supposed to cool down but will it stay that way? The 10-day weather forecast predicts that temperatures on Halloween will reach almost to 70 degrees. That makes it easier for little ballerinas and skeletons to trick or treat without bundling jackets over their costumes. So, there’s that.

Thanksgiving dinner, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, applie pieI do hope for a crisp Thanksgiving Day, though. Cooking up a storm in a hot kitchen holds less appeal when we have to open all the windows just to get a breeze.

I know, I know; readers in places like Southern California, Texas, and Florida are probably giggling. Your Thanksgivings are typically always warm and sunny. That may be normal for you but leaves something to be desired up here. We like our cool fall days. They energize us to throw on a jacket and go for a walk, rake leaves, clean up the vegetable garden, and wash windows. Getting ready for winter involves jobs done better in the coolness of autumn than the warmth of summer.

Don’t Trust the Old Farmer

Where will this weather anomaly end? I don’t dare speculate. Climate change and global warming have a lot of nasty surprises in store. One pleasantly warm October won’t kill us but rising sea levels, ongoing drought, raging wildfires, and a plethora of hurricanes do a pretty good job of it. These are not future threats, but dangerous weather patterns that are occurring right now.

Old Farmer's Almanac, October 2021, weather, autumn, Indian SummerFor all I know these sunny days might give way to howling winds, frigid temperatures and foot upon foot of snow. Then I would be complaining about something completely different.

I can’t even turn to the Old Farmer’s Almanac for guidance, though. Their prediction for fall in New England couldn’t have been more wrong. If Old Farmer blew that one so completely, how can I trust his forecast of snow and cold through January?

“Winter will be colder than normal in the north and warmer in the south, with above-normal precipitation and  snowfall. The coldest periods will be in mid-December and mid-January, with the snowiest periods in mid-December, early January, and early to mid-March.”

In the meantime, I will enjoy this weather even as it makes me uneasy. I haven’t started my winter baking yet, though. Too warm.

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