If you ask a Meteorologist or an Astronomer about the first day of fall, you will get two completely different answers.
Meteorological fall is based on the annual temperature cycle… meaning fall begins September 1st and goes through the end of November.
Speaking with Carl Farmer an Atmospheric Science, Astronomy, and Physics Professor at the College of the Desert, he says, “Astronomically it means the relative position of the Earth to the sun in the plane that we orbit the sun.”
For the start of astronomical fall, the sun is directly overhead crossing the equator. This is also known as the September or autumnal equinox. Astronomical fall begins September 23rd and runs through December 22nd.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) it is going to be on average a warmer 3 months. They released their average temperature outlook for October, November, and December, showing temperatures across the united states being above average. Carl Farmer states, “On individual days we may be a lot warmer but on individual days we could have cooler temperatures as well.”
The big question is, could we see more rain this year in the Coachella Valley? Experts with NOAA say probably not, and expect us to remain near our average precipitation for this time of year at 1.85″. This is causing concern for local firefighters.
Above we are seeing the green areas showing areas of probability above precipitation averages. Areas in orange depict below precipitation averages. The darker orange shows 40%-50% below average.
Here in the Coachella Valley we are showing no probability of change for this three month period.
We spoke with Fernando Herrera, captain with Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department about the peak of fire season beginning in September. HE SAID, “What comes with peak fire season? We have the hot temperatures, but we also bring the wind into it…….”That just means we are going to have wind-driven fires — fires that can go out of control rapidly can spot ahead… miles ahead.”
The main causes of fires are mostly avoidable by civilians. Captain Herrera mentioned making sure your vehicle is properly running. A lot of fires are roadside started fires from a backfire, a catalytic converter that is malfunctioning. If a vehicle overheats and a person pulls over off the side of the road that can be dangerous over a vegetative area. Another thing to watch out for is for the folks hiking out in the wilderness to make sure they are not starting any campfires where they are not allowed to.
If a fire breaks out where you live, Captain Herrera states to, “Always be prepared in the case of an evacuation, you never know when a fire is going to strike in your area… especially if you live close to the mountains.”