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As Autumn arrives, could we be in for an Indian Summer?

The September Equinox marks the beginning of autumn. Photo: MaxiuB at flickr.com/photos/maxiub/
The September Equinox marks the beginning of autumn. Photo: MaxiuB at flickr.com/photos/maxiub/

Autumn has begun in the UK today, but what chance of a ‘Indian Summer’ across the eastern of England?

Today, Wednesday, September 23, marks the September Equinox (one of two equinoxes each year - in September and March) when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is almost equal.

timeanddate.com explains: “The September equinox occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s Equator – from north to south.

On an equinox, night and day are almost exactly the same length, roughly 12 hours apiece.

For people living at the North Pole the equinox marks the beginning of six months of darkness.

The word “equinox” comes from the Latin equi (meaning equal) and nox (meaning night).

The autumn equinox usually falls on the 22 or 23 September but in 1931, it fell on 24 September.

On the autumnal equinox, pagans celebrate Mabon and the second harvest, beginning preparations for winter, a time to respect the impending dark and giving thanks to the sunlight.

The North American term ‘fall’ was in widespread usage in England until the word Autumn entered English from the French automne, becoming common usage in the 18th century.

Druids meet at Stonehenge greeting the equinox’s arrival as they do for the March equinox and the summer solstice.

But what might the weather hold for beginning of autumn, could there be an Indian Summer in store?

The Met Office forecast and outlook for the end of September: “High pressure is expected to build across the country from the south over the weekend, bringing a spell of mainly dry and settled weather across central and southern parts.

“Dry conditions are likely to prevail through next week and into the following week, particularly for central and southern areas.”

But an ‘Indian Summer’ is unlikely, with temperatures are likely to be near normal for most part, perhaps warm at times.

Some chilly nights are possible with a risk of local frosts, and an increasing risk of fog patches developing overnight, which could be slow to clear during the mornings.

The Weather Network prediction for October and November: “It is expected to become particularly unsettled thanks to a strengthening jet stream.

“The jetstream usually strengthens going into October, bringing the UK its typical wet and windy autumnal weather.

“However, the pattern of sea surface temperatures out in the North Atlantic at the moment favours a particularly strong jet stream to develop through the autumn.

“As such, frequent spells of wet and windy weather are likely to affect the UK through October and November as deep areas of low pressure are steered close to the country by the jetstream.

“Temperatures will generally be around or slightly below average through autumn as a whole, again thanks to the cooler than sea temperatures out in the Atlantic.”

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