South Louisiana Cool Snap Coming – But When?
The weather forecast for south Louisiana has not been kind to victims of Hurricane Ida these past few days following the storm. The southern half of the state has been exposed to triple-digit heat indices almost every day this week. So, I know, especially in the storm-damaged areas where the power isn't on they are looking for a little bit of relief from Mother Nature.
That got us to thinking, is there a long-range forecast that is projecting when Louisiana might experience weather that could be considered "fall-like". Granted "fall-like" in Louisiana is a lot different than say Portland Maine's "fall-like". I visited there in July and needed a jacket in the morning. So, for our purposes, we will define "fall-like" as a morning low temperature somewhere in the 50s and an afternoon high temperature not broaching 80 degrees.
When it comes to the three-month outlook for September, October, and November, the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service says that we can expect this.
In that graphic, you can see a nice rounded-out area that covers east Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Residents in that forecast area can expect near-normal conditions for those three months as far as temperatures are concerned.
So what does that mean for a "cool snap"?
If we are playing the averages for this discussion, the average high temperature at the beginning of September for Lafayette is 90 degrees. By the end of the month, the average high temperature has dropped by six degrees to 84. Low temperatures start at the beginning of the month at 73 and they will drop to 66 by the month's end. We're not saying we won't get a cold snap in September but history says we really need to wait until October.
October is the month we really start to hear the crackle of dry leaves under our feet, the clanging of gumbo pots, and the sounds of outdoor fire pits sparkling deep into the night. According to the averages, we start the month with an average high of 84 but end the month with an average high of 76. The low temperatures finally drop out of the 60s, on average, about October 20th.
But if history has anything to say about this subject, we usually get our first taste of cooler weather before the Ides of October. However, our friends with the Old Farmer's Almanac seem to think the cooler weather will arrive ahead of schedule. Their forecast suggests temperatures will be five degrees below average as we head into October so that might mean you'll be looking for a jacket about four weeks from now.
Now, if I might throw in personal observation. I am a weather geek. Not a trained meteorologist, but just a guy who is enamored by the science behind weather forecasting. Based on the records that I keep at my home weather station. I say we get our first "cool snap" on October 9th. That would be just in time for LSU to take on Kentucky and the Ragin Cajuns to face Appalachian State.
The reason I say October the 9th is based on observations of the past five years. That's about when it gets cold enough in South Louisiana for people to forget how to use their heaters and set their houses on fire. I know, it's rather macabre, but it can be documented.
So, if you're looking for a reason to sip your pumpkin spiced drink while wearing a fuzzy sweater and not breaking a sweat, mark it on your calendar. October the 9th. Now if I could just be more sure of my Powerball picks
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