The meteorological fall that ended on Wednesday, marked by a general dryness and a lusciously lingering foliage season, ended up being the third-warmest in the 143-year period of recordkeeping.
We should note that partly in recognition of reality – the atmosphere doesn’t have a whole lot of regard for the calendar – and for the sake of symmetry, the weather community divides the seasons in neat three-month segments.
With a late boost from this week’s warmth, the overall average temperature for the Sept. 1-Nov. 30 period this time around ended up being 61.3, by our unofficial count. The long-term average is 57.5.
They nudged it just ahead of 1881’s, 61.2, and 1900’s, 61.1, but substantially behind 1931’s and 2015’s.
What that all means for the meteorological winter ahead would be pure conjecture, but we can offer a dash of hope to the snow-loathers among us.
We don’t have figures for what happened in the 1881-82 winter, since official snow measurements weren’t yet taken.
But the total for 1900-01 in Philly was a paltry 10.6 inches, less than half the long-term average, and 7.7 for the 1931-32 winter.
You might recall that 2015-16 finished above normal for snow, at 27.2 inches, but we should add an asterisk, since a full 80 percent of that fell in one January storm.
Here are the top 5 warmest autumns: