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September is a month of contrasts across U.S.

By Skip Rigney

Who thinks that September is the first month of fall? Folks in New England know that fall begins in September. Next week the state of Maine’s Department of Forestry will begin issuing weekly “fall foliage” updates for those who want to know the best areas in Maine to see colorful autumn leaves.

Bird watchers at the Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory in New Hampshire know that fall begins in September. They’ve already begun to count hawks beginning their southward migration. If this year is typical, by the end of September most of the hawks will be gone, and around 10,000 will have been counted. You can track the progress of the migration at hawkcount.org.

People in Wisconsin love their football, and everybody knows football is a fall sport. The 70,000 fans of the 16th-ranked University of Wisconsin watching their Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium this afternoon will probably be enduring their hottest weather of the season. I hope the afternoon temperatures in the low to middle 70s don’t cause any undue discomfort.

Fruit lovers who plan on picking apples this weekend at the Bielke Family Farm near Salem, Oregon, know that fall begins in September. The Bielkes opened up for apple picking last week. According to the latest post on their website, they have both “Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious that are ripe and ready,” and they “will have several more rows of Honeycrisp ready in the next couple weeks as well as Ruby Mac and Jonagold!” Of course, everyone knows that apples are a fall fruit.

In the scientific world, meteorologists and climatologists count September as the first month of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, at least for record-keeping purposes.

But, those of us in the South know better, especially those of us who live within 100 miles of the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Our temperatures this first week of September 2019 have just been a continuation of summer, in other words, highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s with a few upper 60s in cooler pockets.

In fact, we might get close to 100 degrees over the next few afternoons in Pearl River County. Forecasters expect only a slight break in the heat starting Tuesday with highs predicted in the middle 90s for the rest of the work week. Showers will be few and far between.

This is a warmer-than-average start to September, but it’s not that rare. In over 100 years of weather records at the Poplarville Experiment Station, high temperatures in the second week of September have been 95 degrees or warmer approximately ten percent of the days on record.

Temperatures have been 90 degrees or warmer on over half of the days on record for week two of September.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any signs of fall. In my yard, the squirrels seem a little more frenetic in their search for food. Hummingbirds are swarming around our feeders, fattening themselves up for their journey across the Gulf to Central America.

Some sycamore leaves are showing tinges of yellow. And, the National Allergy Bureau says that ragweed pollen in our area is on the increase. (https://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts?ipb=1)

Ragweed is the one harbinger of fall I could live without.