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      Brace yourselves, winter is coming

      Fall colors at the Red Fox Run Golf Course in Sawyer 9-21-13

      Ok, so I know the title is a little dramatic, but I couldn't help it. :)

      Saturday is the last day of summer and Sunday is the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of fall (or the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere). Equinox is Latin for "equal night," named so because we have near exactly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. It changes a bit with latitude though. Here in the U.P. it's about 12 hours and 10 minutes of daylight between sunrise and sunset.

      So there's a few things of interest to talk about. First, Frost Advisories and Freeze Warnings are in effect for the interior western counties for Saturday night. More frost possible on Sunday night.

      Frost is fitting now that summer is over (and it's good for my allergies). Summer of 2013 had only three days with a high of 90 degrees or higher; two in July and one in August.

      For fall, that means we get to enjoy fall colors. Late September and early October are often great times to enjoy the changing trees. The National Weather Service has some info. on the Autumnal Equinox. The Pure Michigan campaign has info. on Fall Color Tours. The Weather Channel offers regional maps gauging the fall color intensity that is updated weekly (not much to see yet).

      As I understand it, the days around the equinoxes are often prone to auroral displays. I'm not sure the reason why, but who is complaining, right? keeps a close eye on that stuff and they say there might some northern lights for early next week.

      Winter officially starts on Saturday, December 21, the Winter Solstice, which has the smallest amount of sunlight in the year, but the first snow of the season normally comes well before that here in Upper Michigan.

      First measurable snow (0.1" or more) in:

      2008: Oct 27

      2009: Oct 12

      2010: Nov 4

      2011: Nov 9

      2012: Oct 6

      When will it arrive in 2013? Not likely anytime soon. Care to wager a guess? The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a warmer than average month ahead and an average temperature forecast for the next three months. As a random date, I will guess October 30 for the first snow (disclaimer: that is not an official forecast). Make your guess in the comments and we'll see who is right! The winner gets to gloat.

      Lastly, follow me on Facebook and Twitter if you aren't already. SEND ME FALL COLORS PICTURES PLEASE! I prefer Facebook and Twitter for that so that they can be shared. Use #MIwx (for Michigan Weather) too.

      Thanks and I hope you enjoyed the summer! I know I did.