Typical, or maybe Indian
Last weekend a refreshing cold front pushed through the region. Now the area is again stuck with warm and sticky conditions. Viewer Edwin Durabb of Baton Rouge emailed the WBRZ Weather Team asking if this is this a typical October in South Louisiana or perhaps an "Indian Summer?"
In case you haven't heard the term before, an "Indian Summer" is generally associated with an extended period of above normal temperatures in the fall or winter accompanied by dry, hazy conditions ushered in by a southerly breeze. Such conditions would precisely describe the Louisiana weather forecast for this entire first full week of October. Furthermore, climatological standards for this time of year are in the lower 80s and lower 60s for the Baton Rouge area. But, this does not qualify as an "Indian Summer." Why not?
Meteorologically speaking, the local of weather of late is not that uncommon. Record highs for Early October are as warm as the mid-90s. In addition, 90+ degree days have been recorded as late as the end of October.
Next, many historical references make note of the aforementioned conditions of an "Indian Summer" occurring after a killing frost or freeze. In other references, only northern sections of the country are counted for having "Indian Summers" as a discernable winter there is surely looming. Some southern locations, such as the Gulf Coast, rarely ever spend extended periods below freezing and warm spells are very common in the winter months.
As for the typical "Indian Summer" setup, the National Weather Service in Detroit, Michigan paints this picture: "...a large area of high pressure along or just off the East Coast. Occasionally, it will be this same high pressure that produced the frost/freeze conditions only a few nights before, as it moved out of Canada across the Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes and then finally, to the East Coast. Much warmer temperatures, from the Deep South and Southwest, are then pulled north on southerly breezes resulting from the clockwise rotation of wind around the high pressure. It is characteristic for these conditions to last for at least a few days to well over a week and there may be several cases before winter sets in. Such a mild spell is usually broken when a strong low pressure system and attending cold front pushes across the region. This dramatic change results from a sharp shift in the upper winds or "jet stream" from the south or southwest to northwest or north."
As for the origin of the term? Some say it has to do with the preferred hunting or harvesting season Native Americans prior to a long, harsh winter. Others contend it had to do with the prime loading times for cargo ships crossing the Indian Ocean. A few even believe the term has religious roots.
While historians may search endlessly for the precise origin of the term, note that this stale, steamy pattern is no "Indian Summer," just a typical October in South Louisiana.
You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, connecting with Josh on Google+ and following him on Twitter.
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