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Dave Murray’s Long-Range 2015 Fall Forecast

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It has been a strange summer for the St. Louis area. June and into early July we had really a non-summer with cool temperatures and what seemed to be non-stop rain leading to the wettest June on record. And thanks to all the rain and flooding, when the sun did come out, the humidity went sky high. The positive spin is that the vegetation has been as green as it could be for summer. The negative side..the tomatoes and lots of other home grown veggies have really struggled. All of this is thanks to a developing “el Nino” pattern in the Pacific. The big question for the Fall will be does the pattern continue? So let’s get going with a look at the month of September in St. Louis.

September 2015

The key as we head into the fall season will be the growing "el Niño.” It has a little bit of a start and stop pattern to it so it does not pave the way to a clear cut forecast. As a result, our temperatures will be bouncing around quite a bit in September. We will see some very warm air and also some rather cool to chilly weather too. The focus on the warmth will be the first two weeks of the month, taking us into mid September. Then the coolness of fall will quickly take over for the last half of the month, with the last part of the month bringing overnight lows into the 40's. Chances of a freeze are really tough in September but I would not be surprised if we have a close call before we close out the month. With the half and half swings, temperatures for the month will come out pretty close to average. But with the swings, it really won't feel that way.

On to the moisture for the month of September and this is a month that is typically dry, In fact, it’s typically a very dry month. So this is where the growing “el Niño” could really throw us a curve ball. I'm thinking the first 10 days of the month will be very dry, then, after that, we will quickly make up for lost time. When it’s all done, the month will turn out to be on the wet side. Another feature that could add to the wet would be tropical action in the Gulf of Mexico, especially some home-grown close to shore action in the western Gulf. If that moisture finds its way up the Mississippi River valley that could just add to the wetness of mid to late September and that’s not the best of news for the harvest season.

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.

The major points of September 2015

  • Dealing with a see-saw temperature pattern...with the first half of the month being warm then a temperature reversal kicks in as we dive into a cool Fall weather pattern
  • Rainfall has a look for two faces...very dry for the first days...then turning wet
  • Something that could add to the wet...a western Gulf tropical spin-up

October 2015

In my book, October is the heart of the Fall season and typically one of the best months of the year. Known for its pleasant and dry weather, any summer heat and especially the humidity drops out of the picture and is typically a very dry month. That is great news for the farmers getting in the seasonal harvest. Winter is far from taking over and the vast majority of October’s will follow this pattern. But we have also seen October wash-outs with 2009 leading the way with over 12 inches of rain. And yes, 2009 was one of those years that came with a growing "el Niño" pattern. So let’s see what direction I will be heading with a look at October in St. Louis.

The colder weather that I’m expecting to take over in the last half of September will stay in play with cool to chilly temperatures for the bulk of this October. Yes, there will be a few days of warm temperatures but when we add up the month I’m thinking October will run below average for temperatures. Let’s think of a frost and even a hard freeze any time after the 18th. The cool temperatures along with the days getting shorter offer the true gift of fall, the changing colors of the trees. I’m thinking the color will be pretty good again this October with the peak occurring late in the month, after the 20th.

As for moisture, a growing “el Niño” has a trend of creating a wet month in October but I do not want to head that direction this year. I'm not concerned about a drought set up because there will be rain this October, with the best shot mid to late month. Some of the hayrides and pumpkin picking could be a little soggy, but overall October should average out to be near to slightly below average when it comes to rain. There is also what we call the second season for strong to severe thunderstorms, with a history of that book getting opened in late October and early November and we will see two maybe three thunderstorm events in that stretch of time. Will we see any snow in October? That is pretty tough to come by...snow bunnies don't rush the season.

Things to look for in October

  • Persimmons start to ripen
  • Look for spiders ballooning on gossamers on clear, windy days
  • The juncos arrive from Canada

The major points for October 2015

  • Chilly to cool temperatures for much of the month
  • It is not a drought set up...there will be some rain...and overall rainfall will be near to slightly below average
  • Watch for a short, second season of severe storms late in the month

November 2015

Time for the month of November. 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. Can it snow in November Yes, but it is typically limited. However,  November snows are more shocking than big. So let’s see what’s going on with a look at November in St. Louis.

Weather patterns pick up speed this month and we will be watching active northern and southern jet streams, especially with the moderate to strong “el Niño” in play. But it’s the southern jet that will have most of my interest this November. There will be the typical bouncing of temperatures but thinking this November will result in above average temperatures, maybe even well above average. Chilly times will be few and far between.

As far as rain goes, the short second season of thunderstorms will hang on a little longer this year, taking us into the middle of the month. That sets the stage for 2 to 3 strong to severe weather events. And with “el Niño” reaching towards its mature state this month and into part of the winter, November will also bring several set-up's of thick clouds and soaking rains. This November will not be a dry month. I’m expecting above average rainfall amounts. Snow bunnies do not get your hopes up, warm and wet does not bring what you are looking for. In fact, the wait for the snow bunnies may be a long one going 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

The major points for the month of November 2015

  • Mild for late fall with limited chilly to cold snaps
  • The second season of thunderstorms will last longer... 2 to 3 strong events
  • November rains and lots of clouds will be big features...above average rainfall for the month

Fall 2015 Summary

The focus during the fall season will be “el Niño.” It will become the dominant player by the middle of the Fall season. As a result, it is a bit of a see-saw weather pattern and temperature pattern for the fall season. It is not just a clear cut “el Niño” pattern. Weather never is clear-cut.

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