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Dave Murray’s 2016 Long-Range Fall Weather Forecast

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – We have had some non-summers over the last few years, but certainly not this summer. We are getting back to the good old days of St. Louis heat and humidity. No records, but the humidity got a little tough to take in the middle of July. We also saw wild swings of too much rain and too little rain. The weather patterns have been in a neutral phase as el Niño fades and la Niña taking its time taking control. The big question for Fall is if and when will la Nina take over.

September 2016

The trends that set up during the summer months should take us at least into early Fall. One of the key features is that the el Niño pattern has faded, but the la Nina flip really has not taken place. This is not a surprise and should not be a major feature until sometime in the winter season, if at all. That means lots of questions. Our temperatures in September will hold the course, meaning plenty of warm temperatures much of the month. There will be one or two cool spells, especially toward the end of the month, but September looks warm, I think when we wrap up the month temperatures will be above average. With that said, we will start to notice the coolness of Fall in the last week of the month. That will bring overnight low temperatures into the 40's. Chances of a freeze are really tough in September and I don't see anything even close to a freeze this September.

On to the rainfall patterns and this is a month that is typically dry. But with a wild rainfall spread over the summer that could make things interesting trying to nail down a projection. With the overall global patterns in a neutral phase I think the swings of the summer moisture patterns will continue. So it’s a 50-50 month. There will be plenty of dry time which is good news for the farmers and the harvest season. We do have to watch one feature as we do every September and that is for tropical action in the Gulf of Mexico, especially the western gulf. September is the peak month of the hurricane season, so we need to pay attention if something forms and that rain moves up the Mississippi River Valley. That is hard to call in a long range forecast. I’m thinking September rainfall will be near average and that will tend to keep things on the dry side.

Things to look for in September

  • Harmless black and yellow garden spiders are common around the house
  • Look for puffballs and other fall mushrooms
  • Listen for migrating birds during the evening hours

Major points of September 2016

  • A little see-saw temperature pattern...but thinking the month will be a warm one
  • Rainfall will be near average and that will trend things on the dry side
  • A western Gulf of Mexico tropical spin up could increase rain chances here

October 2016

In my book, October is the heart of the Fall season and typically one of the best months of the year. It is known for its pleasant and dry weather. Any summer heat and, especially, humidity drops out of the picture. It is typically a very dry month, again great news for the farmers getting in the seasonal harvest. Winter is far from taking over.

I don't see a lot of large scale swings in the global weather patterns as we head into the middle month of October. We are still in that neutral phase with Pacific Ocean temperatures. With that in mind, does the warmth of the month of September continue for the month of October? My simple answer is: yes and no. It’s a yes. But you have to remember that October is a month that always brings a step down in temperatures, both day and night. As the days get shorter and shorter, it has to cool off some. But I think when we add up the month, October will be mild to warm with well above average temperatures. However, I do think will see a solid cool snap for the end of the month.  We often have a freeze in the month of October, but I think most areas will miss a freeze this year. That keeps the bugs around.

How about the fall colors? They should be pretty good this year. The peak color will be delayed slightly, coming at the end of October.

As for moisture, nine times out of ten October is a dry month. In fact, most of the time it is a very dry month. However, I think this October will be the exception to the rule. I don't see it being rain after rain after rain,  but I do see a pattern that will keep us more wet than dry. I am expecting rainfall to run above average this October so some of the hayrides and pumpkin picking and even Halloween could be a little on the soggy side. Another feature to watch for is what we call the “second season,” a period in October and November that will bring an up-tick in strong to severe thunderstorms. That is in my ideas and one of the reasons for above average rainfall this year. Let’s watch for two strong to severe events. Can it snow in October? It is pretty tough to come by. Remember, I’m forecasting an overall warm month. So even though I have a cool snap at the end of the month let’s leave snow out of the mix.

Things to look for in October

  • Persimmons start to ripe
  • Look for spiders ballooning on gossamers on clear, windy days
  • Juncos arrive from Canada

Major points of October 2016

  • Mild to warm temperatures the bulk of the month
  • A fair share of rain...at least by October standards
  • A short, second season of strong to severe storms

November 2016

This month can bring all kinds of swings, but one thing is guaranteed.  November tells us in many ways that we are living on borrowed time. Fall shuts down and Winter comes knocking at the door. The changing of the Fall colors is over and temperatures both day and night have a steady drop.

Weather patterns become interesting with a pick-up in pace and frequency in the month of November this year. We should see an increase in the flow of the southern and northern jet streams. Also, the neutral ocean temperature patterns in the Pacific will hold. This is more and more signs that la Nina will be la "no-no". It’s the southern jet that has the majority of the action, resulting in the typical bouncing of the temperatures we see in November. The overall pattern I see setting up should keep the trend of this Fall going: near to above average temperatures when the month is all over. Chilly times will be few and far between.

The second, short season of thunderstorms remains in play for the first two weeks of November. We’ll watch for another 1 to 2 thunderstorm events in the first 15 days. Also, I think we see a fair share of rain during the entire month. We will still be dealing with a wet weather pattern, but this becomes more common in a typical November as winter tries to show its face. So this November we’ll see near to above average rainfall amounts.

Snow bunnies, I know you start hoping around this time of year. But with this patter, don’t get your hopes or "hops" up. The wait for snow will be longer getting into the winter months.

Things to look for in the month of November

  • Birds begin gathering at feeders
  • Scan the leafless trees for paper nest of the bald-faced hornets
  • Woodchucks are asleep in underground nests

Major points November 2016

  • Plenty of mild to warm November temperatures
  • A few more second season thunderstorms early in the month
  • Near to above average for rain…nothing much in the way of snow.

Fall 2016 Summary

The focus during the 2016 Fall season will be the push from summer keeping temperatures on the mild to warm side. There will be the typical slide of fall temperatures, day and night, but there will be plenty of rather pleasant temperatures during the three months Fall is usually dry when we look at the climatology, but this fall will bring a fair share of rain for each of the three months.

The next long range forecast will be for the winter season, but that is a long way off. I am already working on some ideas. Until then, lets enjoy Fall, the changing colors, football, and pumpkins.