Fall-back to summer a harbinger of a warm winter?

Fall Foliage Forecast
New England foliage; almost that time of year.

We were nonplussed when we attempted to buy mosquito repellent at our local Wegman’s before we went on vacation last month, only to be told it was a “seasonal” product and that it was time to move on.

Summer obviously took exception, and with autumn arriving Friday afternoon, temperatures could will flirt with 90 during the next few days. Perhaps nature is as disturbed about society’s seasonal fast-forwarding trend as we are.

So it is with a degree of hypocrisy that we take note of the long-range outlook posted Thursday by the government’s Climate Prediction Center that has most of the nation painted warm for the October through December period.

Peeking at the AccuWeather 90-day outlook, we see no mention of snow through the first 20 days of December, for what that might be worth.

The major factor the climate center mentioned in its outlook is the expectation that La Niña — a vast cooling of sea-surface temperatures — will develop in the tropical Pacific during the fall and persist through the winter.

This likely would have the effect of tempering worldwide temperature increases temporarily, and while La Niña impacts on U.S. winters have varied, this is not the best scenario for the region’s snow lovers.

Among 20 case studies since 1950, the average winter snowfall was 17.6 inches officially in Philadelphia; the long-term average for all winters is around 22.

We note that the La Niña average was bumped up significantly by the 65.5 inches of the outlier winter of 1995-96. Otherwise, the list had some seismic snow duds, including the winters of 1949-50 and 1950-51 when under 7 inches fell in both winters combined.

As we’ve observed, the atmosphere tends to find long-range outlooks amusing. In the meantime, the short-term forecasts for the first weekend of fall read like they walked out of the first week of August.

It should be a splendid weekend to admire those first flecks of foliage color as temperatures will reach the mid 80s on Saturday and make runs at 90 Sunday and Monday.

Enjoy the equinox.