After an especially hot and humid 93-day reign over South Jersey, the summer of 2016 officially comes to an end on Thursday. So allow me to welcome you to fall, as we start the new season with the arrival of the autumnal equinox, which occurs at 10:21 a.m. Thursday morning.
While equinox means equal day and night, Thursday will actually be 12 hours and 8 minutes long in terms of daylight. That means we can enjoy a few bonus calendar days when the day is longer than the night here in South Jersey. Sunday marks the actual day when we experience an equal 12 hours of both day and night, as our daylight continues to lessen by about two-and-a-half minutes each day through October.
For the first weekend of fall, September 24-25, 2016
Weather-wise, Mother Nature is known for not strictly adhering to the calendar. That’s why we sweated to record 71-degree warmth last Christmas. It’s also why some of us shoveled as much as four inches of snow early last April.
While there will indeed be a fallish feel in the air by early next week, the first few days of the season will be in contrast quite summery. After clouds stubbornly shrouded the South Jersey skies over the last few days, we should be able to welcome back the sunshine for the rest of the week. Accompanying that sun should be above average temperatures, both on land and by sea. Our ocean temperatures are still above 70, and highs on land should near or surpass 80 each of the next few days. So at least through the start of the weekend, it’s fall in name only, as some bonus summer weather is ours to soak up and enjoy. Summer lovers should do just that, because fall will gradually become more established in the coming weeks.
A cold front will slide down the Parkway from north to south on Saturday, and usher in a two-to-three day shot of more autumnal weather for early next week. That shot will likely include crisp nighttime lows around 50, and our first afternoons since the spring when highs don’t do much better than 70.
Quite cool? Yes. But it won’t be permanent just yet, as another warming trend should arrive by the end of the forecast as fall enters its second week.