Dave Murray’s 2014 long-range Fall forecast

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(KTVI)- It has been a pretty easy to take summer over in St. Louis. We had a fair share of heat and humidity but also had runs of very nice weather, especially in the middle of July. This goes with the idea that the patterns that set up this past winter would show their face again during the summer season. Can’t call this a year without a summer, but pretty nice by St. Louis standards. The next question: will these patterns continue to repeat or are we dealing with something brand new?

September 2014

We will be watching a growing, but weak to moderate El Niño. As a result there are some conflicting signs in the atmosphere. For temperatures, we will be bouncing around for much of the month. We should see some very warm air and some rather cool air. For the first 20 days of the month, the warm air will win out. Then the coolness of fall will quickly take control for the last quarter of the month. I would not be surprised to see some overnight lows the last 10 days dip down into the 40’s, maybe even flirting with some record lows. A frost and freeze will be hard to come by, but certainly get us in mood for apple picking and apple pie. It may be a shot across the bow for the upcoming winter so time to get the heating system checked out. So with the swings, let’s think the month’s temperatures will average out pretty close to average.

On to the moisture, September is typically not only a dry month but a very dry month. I do think that this September will once again hold true to form with rainfall running near to little below average. Nothing extreme but dry is dry. So the fall gardens and any new plantings will need some water from time to time, but it is great news for the harvest season. The only item that could toss a wrench into the dry pattern would be something tropical coming out of the western Gulf of Mexico. But the primary focus for tropical systems should be Florida and up the East Coast this season, so I’m not really concerned about that option.

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 2014

  • Some bouncing around of the temperatures in the first 20 days with the warmer air winning the battle
  • Chilly times to end the month…possible record lows in that stretch of the last 10 days
  • Looking like a typical September…on the dry side…but always paying attention to the tropics

October 2014

It is all about the heart of the fall season in the month of October. This typically is a wonderful month in St. Louis, known for its pleasant and dry weather. The summer heat and humidity drops out of the picture and is typically a rather dry month, good news for the farmers getting in the seasonal harvest. Winter is far from taking over; the last 4 Octobers have followed this playbook. But I have also seen a few Octobers that really go against the grain. One that sticks out is October 2009. We saw over 12 inches of rain. Why do I mention this: 2009 is one of the strong analog years.

The chilly snap that I’m expecting in late September will help keep a chilly trend going for much of the month of this October. There will be two small runs of near to slightly above average temperatures, but overall days and nights will bring readings below average with the coldest run being in the middle of the month. That is when we could see a hard frost and maybe even a freeze. I think temperatures will be well below average when we add up the numbers at the end of the month. The cool temps will be good news for the changing colors of the trees, that and the steady loss of daylight during the month. Notice how quickly the days will get shorter and shorter. The fall color should be pretty good thanks to a wet spring and a cooler than average summer season. Peak color in St. Louis will be mid to late month, seems to get a little later each year.

As for moisture, I keep thinking about 2009 and a growing el Niño. I do not have any concerns about a drought; in fact, there should be plenty of rainfall with rain running above average. I don’t see a repeat of 2009 rainfall amounts but there will be a few rather impressive rainfall days in the mid and late month. Some of the pumpkin picking and hayrides may be a little soggy. Now there is a second season of strong to severe thunderstorms, late October and into early November, it does not last very long. Thunderstorms will be in play mid to late month, but I think storms will be limited. Any snow? That is pretty tough to come by in October.

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

Major points for October 2014

  • Temperatures will be on the cool side…both day and night for much of the month with the coolest stretch of weather coming in the middle and end of October
  • I do not see any record lows
  • Rainfall will run little above average…there will be some soaking rains and some thunderstorm concerns

November 2014

We hit the month of November. It is the month that tells us in many different ways that we are living on borrowed time. Fall shuts down and Winter comes knocking at the door. The changing colors of the trees comes to an end and the temperatures day and night take a steady drop off. And, yes, snow can even come into the picture, especially late in the month. November snows are typically more shocking than big…unless you remember the November of 1951 when 10.3 inches fell in one 24 hour snowstorm. Remember, 1951 is also one of the big analog years.

Weather patterns do pick up the pace in the month of November and we will be watching a split flow battle across North America. Both flows of the jet stream, northern and southern, will be rather active. We will be walking the line between two very different weather patterns and this will result in some very interesting weather to watch and forecast. Let’s expect some real bounce around of the temperatures, a classic St. Louis roller coaster ride. I’m thinking the first half of the month will be rather pleasant, some spectacular late Fall days. Then, for the last half of the month, we will see several shots from north of the border. There will be a lot of interesting wardrobe changes this November. When done, temperatures will be just about average for the month. But with the swings, it really won’t seem like it.

On to moisture and the short second season of thunderstorms will take us through the first 10 days of the month. That means we could see one or two rounds of some mean Fall thunderstorms along with the mild start to the month. Then, as the colder air takes control, we will see more of the classic chilly November rains, one or two events. I can hear the “snow bunnies” out there: is it time to be thinking about snow? There will be some impressive cold shots for the end of the month and I’m certainly looking at a few nights of freezing temperatures. But many times these shots are really dry. We need a shot of cold to link up with the southern storm track. I do think we will have one of those with some accumulating snow in the last 10 days of the month

Things to look for in 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 for November

  • Get ready for a wild temperature ride…rather impressive even by November standards…warmest the first half…coldest the second half
  • One or two thunderstorm events in the first 10 days…maybe severe and then cold rains
  • A shot at an accumulating snow the last 10 days…this will be a fun forecasting month

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