Meteorological Fall begins with ease in drought

It may be hard for you to believe, but fall arrived last Wednesday. That is – meteorological fall arrived. Meteorologists and climatologists break the seasons down into groupings of three months based on the annual temperature cycle as well as our calendar.

We generally think of fall and spring as being the transition seasons and of course we think of winter as the coldest time of the year and summer as the warmest time of the year. That is what the meteorological seasons are based on.

Meteorological fall includes September, October and November. Meteorological winter includes December, January, and February. Spring includes March, April, and May; and finally meteorological summer includes June, July, and August.

These seasons were created for meteorological observing and forecasting purposes. The length of the seasons is also more consistent for the meteorological seasons, ranging from 90 days for winter of a non-leap year to 92 days for spring and summer. By following the civil calendar and having less variation in season length and season start, it becomes much easier to calculate seasonal statistics from the monthly statistics, both of which are very useful for agriculture, commerce, and a variety of other purposes.

If you are ready for fall weather though, I’m afraid you may just have to wait until astronomical fall arrives Sept. 22. After a very pleasant Labor Day weekend, the heat is returning along with the humidity. The long-range outlook released from the Climate Prediction Center late last week shows a high likelihood of above normal temperatures through at least the middle of the month.

Despite a return to the heat, recent rainfall from tropical moisture has eased drought conditions across the Miami Valley. In fact, all of the Miami Valley is now officially out of drought conditions according to the U.S. Drought Mitigation Center, although a few counties in the northern Miami Valley are still considered to be abnormally dry for this time of year. Much of northern Ohio still needs more rainfall to get out of drought conditions. The good news is that the long range outlook does call for near or above normal precipitation for the first half of September despite the current stretch of dry weather. However, it is important to note that the long-range forecast becomes a bit more unclear depending on tropical activity and its potential impacts on weather in the Ohio Valley.

Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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