Have you broken out your fall fashions yet? I haven’t either, and that’s probably because it has felt more like San Diego or Miami around here than what we’re used to in fall around Southwestern Pennsylvania. So much for kids playing in piles of leaves while you enjoy that piping hot pumpkin spice latte. The only thing piping hot around here has been the temperature lately.
And what’s happening with our fall colors? Leaves began turning on Labor Day, possibly because of the slightly cooler-than-average August temperatures and a summer that left us averaging six inches above normal yearly precipitation totals. Hopes were high for an early view of what promised to be vivid fall foliage. Then came a bone-dry September when we hit 90 degrees twice and saw nary a drop of rain. The first 10 days of October averaged more than eight degrees warmer than normal. Rain from Hurricane Nate finally brought some relief to crispy lawns, but leaves are still dry, and it seems they’re racing from green straight to brown and skipping those wonderful shades of rust, gold, red and orange.
People are confused, too, not knowing whether to run the air conditioning, the furnace or just leave the windows open all of the time. Hot, dry weather made us wish the pools were open in October instead of sitting idle all summer while it seemed as if the rain would never end and the sun would never shine again.
What about those fun fall fashions? Up until yesterday, I was still wearing sandals and shorts rather than boots and a cute sweater. On quite a few days in September, I started the morning wearing sweats, then switched to shorts, then put a sweatshirt back on in the evening. It’s like having Indian summer for 60 days.
We certainly found the bright color that we’re missing on the trees in the form of orange cones on the roadways. Road crews who were delayed all summer by deluges every other day are as busy as bees right now trying to get paving and other projects finished before Thanksgiving. Everyone is grousing that every single road and highway around here is under construction all at once, stretching usually short trips into hourlong journeys. At this rate, they’ll still be milling and paving right up until Christmas Eve.
Another downfall of this warm, dry fall weather has been the onslaught of allergies. Plenty of people I know were sniffling, sneezing and muddling through the days of September, dealing with a pile of pollen and ragweed. Rain that usually sweeps the air clean just didn’t come, and a frost to kill that ragweed seemed elusive. Sixties are finally in the forecast, which are the normal highs for this time of year. Hopefully they’ll stick around for a while before those first flakes start to fly!
Kristin Emery can be reached at email@example.com.