Friday’s cool pre-dawn low of 40 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport is a reminder that the autumnal equinox arrives this Thursday (at 9:03 p.m. to be exact) and readings in the 40s are the order of the day for mid to late September.
It’s a busy weekend for outdoor events in the Berkshires, and participants in the area’s premier triathlon, the Josh Billings RunAground, can look forward to sunny skies, gentle winds and temperatures in the 70s on Sunday morning. There is a slight chance of late day showers.
A repeat of summer warmth and humidity, with the possibility of numerous showers, is expected through Sunday evening. The early morning lows will feel more like mid-August. Most of next week will be seasonally warm, even slightly above normal.
Monday looks like a rainy day with possible thunderstorms but don’t let that get you down as Tuesday through Thursday looks sunny and mild with mostly clear nights. After a slight risk of showers later Thursday, a much cooler, drier Canadian air mass is moving our way, ushering in an ideal early fall weekend of September 23-25.
Rainfall so far this month is above normal, allowing us to see the edge of the forest when we could emerge from the moderate to severe drought across the country, although levels of lakes, rivers and streams remain below average.
Worries of a dull foliage season are easing as cool mornings and sunny days can help put on a spectacular show for leaf scouts and everyone else anticipating some of the best times of the year over the next six weeks.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecast for September 23-29 tends to see temperatures and precipitation close to normal.
Heavy rains and possible flash flooding are on the horizon for Florida’s this weekend. This is unrelated to Tropical Storm Fiona, which is likely to increase in hurricane strength to the Bahamas late next week. Whether Fiona will pose a threat to the East Coast is unpredictable, but her trail should become clear by Monday or Tuesday.
From California east to the northern Rockies, a cool air mass can support mixed precipitation or snow for the highest peaks. On Sunday, an unusual September storm is expected to bring heavy rain to parts of central and northern California.
Daily highs should be 10 to 15 degrees below the mid-September seasonal average throughout the west and later in the week in the upper Mississippi Valley.
Central and southern Florida will experience showers and thunderstorms throughout the week.
Much warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for the Central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley through Wednesday, while eastern states will experience brief warming later in the week.
Heading into next weekend, Fiona’s potential threat to Florida and the Southeast will depend on how severe the storm gets and whether it moves close to shore. The National Hurricane Center regularly releases updates on the likely hurricane’s progress.
Data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that June through August 2020 was the warmest summer on record worldwide, dating back to 1880. The summer in the northern hemisphere in 2019 was the warmest on record.
NOAA data showed the season was the fifth warmest worldwide in 143 years of records, and the Northern Hemisphere experienced its second warmest summer on record.
NASA’s database contains more information from the Arctic and Antarctic regions, an area that’s warming faster than other parts of the world, the Washington Post reported.
“This is remarkable evidence of the persistence of ongoing global warming,” said NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, adding that August is believed to be the warmest on record in North America.
Both NASA and NOAA agree that 2022 will most likely be among the top 10 warmest years on record. All five of the world’s warmest June-August periods have occurred since 2015.
June highlights included periods of extreme heat, many broken monthly records and extreme weather disasters. Heavy rain and melted snowpack caused historic flooding and evacuations around Yellowstone National Park and nearby cities. The Norwegian city of Tromsø, located above the Arctic Circle, set a temperature record for the month.
July was marked by record heat waves in Europe. London reached 104 degrees, setting a national temperature record. France, Germany, Spain and Ireland also set monthly records. The heatwave caused widespread fires and the worst glacial meltdown in the Alps, one of which triggered a deadly avalanche in Italy.
Most parts of the US continued to experience above-average to record-high temperatures in July. Texas experienced its hottest July on record. At the end of the month, a sustained heat wave in northern California and the Pacific Northwest resulted in the longest warm streaks in Portland and Seattle. The heat ignited wildfires, including the largest and deadliest of the year in California.
It was the hottest August on record in North America and Europe, and the second warmest August worldwide. Half of Europe was under drought warnings – the continent’s worst drought in at least 500 years. August also brought more intense heat to parts of the US, particularly parts of the West.
The heat also made August a bad month for sea ice – the world recorded August’s fifth-lowest sea extent on record.
So far, the world has experienced above-average temperatures year-to-date. January through August 2022 was the sixth warmest year on record, according to NOAA data.
Among annual records, 2016 remains the warmest, and all 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2010. If the heat keeps up, 2022 is likely to make the top 10 as well.