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      Leaf Litter: Check out the latest fall color report and more

      September is fading fast. Leaves are changing color and we're even starting to see leaf litter on the ground. Bugs are gone and it's a beautiful time of year to be in the Upper Peninsula. But it's a bittersweet time for us all because we know that four-letter "S" word will soon be unavoidable.

      Recently, long-term forecast models have been hinting at a deep low pressure system that could bring a sharp cool down by next weekend. There is still a good deal of uncertainty about just how strong the low will be by the time it arrives in the Great Lakes. It does appear that the rain/snow will dive a little too close for my comfort. Wintry precipitation could threaten in parts of southern Canada. However, temperatures should stay just warm enough to keep the threat for mixed precip out of our forecast, at least for the foreseeable future. So let's savor the flavor of the last month of summer and first couple days of fall!

      While preliminary reports indicate monthly temperatures about half a degree above average September, 2013 will end up pretty close to what we expect. So far, there have been fifteen days with average or above average temperatures. The warmest day was Friday, the 6th when the official high was 80.

      We had thirteen days with below average temperatures. You'll recall those last few days of summer were quite cool. Although we received many reports of temperatures in the 20s across the UP, 35 was the official lowest reading at the National Weather Service office in Negaunee on both September 22 and 23.

      Although there were sixteen days with measurable precipitation, we'll end up with a dry month. With two days left, we're 1.44" below our normal rainfall for the month. That puts quite a dent in that yearly surplus we enjoyed, and we're now 3.94" above average for 2013.

      As we close the book on September and we turn our calendars to my favorite month, please consider the fact that despite recent rains, we're working with a rainfall deficit. The next low pressure system is expected to wander into central Canada through the first half of next week. Winds gusting into the 20-30 MPH range will again mix their way into west/central Upper Michigan. With plenty of available ground fuels, please use caution burning during the first half of the week. Check for burn restictions until the next healthy dose of rain arrives Thursday/Friday. I will report on the minor wildfire threat as well as what kind of weather we can expect for the first weekend in October throughout the week!