Published August 14, 2013
As summertime nears its end, fall is just around the corner. The transition will be a mild one for the Northeast into November, while their neighbors in the Midwest and Ohio Valley will be in for a early frost/freeze and some snow.
Meanwhile, rain will continue to pound the Southeast and Gulf Coast, where a flood risk remains over the coming months. Conversely, prolonged dry periods may lead to more warmth and extend the fire season across California.
A breakdown of the entire fall 2013 forecast can be found below.
JUMP TO: Mild Nights to Ease Season Transition for Northeast| Early Season Cold Blast for Northern Plains; Midwest to Get Early Frost/Freeze | Southeast Flood Woes Continue | Secondary Severe Weather Season Kicks Off in South | A Dry Southwest; Extended Fire Threat for California | Tropical Threat to Linger Beyond Typical Season
The transition from summer to fall will be a breeze for the Northeast as temperatures will average above normal for the region. Through September and October, temperatures will average 2 to 3 degrees above normal in upstate New York and New England.
Late September could yield a chilly period but the cold that will stay in place through the winter will not return until later in November.
"November will mostly likely be the coldest month, compared to normal, for the fall season," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist and head of the Long-Range Forecasting Team, Paul Pastelok said.
Similar to last year, this could bring snow for the interior Northeast at some point during the month. If the timing is right, it could fall in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and possibly even D.C. to New York City, according to Pastelok.
Snow produced early in the season is often heavy and wet, and can result in power outages when it piles on trees that haven't yet lost all of their leaves.
The ski season could be 'a bit rough' for the region, but the best prospects for a weekend on the slopes will fall around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Come December, temperatures will again trend warmer than normal, making a significant snow event less likely.
After a warm start to September, weeks three and four of the month in the Midwest will start to feel this chill and could be marked by an early frost or freeze for the corn and soybean growing area, about two or three weeks earlier than usual.
With temperatures forecast to drop to the mid- to low 30s, this could create a shorter growing season for farmers, who already suffered a slow start to planting due to heavy rainfall in the spring.
November will usher in cold air for the northern Plains as well that can stretch across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and into the interior Southeast.
Much colder weather is expected across the central Plains and Midwest during late October and November. This period of cold weather could lead to an early season snowfall.
"We could see some [snow] events there if things work out, so Chicago and Minneapolis have to watch out," Pastelok said.
Though the frequency of flooding events will scale back from that of the summertime, the threat will hold through the fall due to the collision of stronger cold fronts and tropical moisture.
The battle between the lingering humidity and the chill will create a corridor of moisture spanning the Southeast, southern and central Appalachians, mid-Atlantic and southern New England, according to Pastelok.
"It's hard to pinpoint exactly who is going to be hit the worst as far as flooding goes," he said. "They are all at risk in the mid-Atlantic states, the Southeast and even back across parts of the mid-Mississippi Valley and central Plains states."
Beginning in late October, a secondary severe weather season will kick off in the lower to mid-Mississippi Valley across the Tennessee Valley and south to the Gulf Coast, ushering severe storms into the region.
As colder and more stable air moves in during November, the threat may be forced farther south toward the Gulf Coast states.
Although it may start out wet in Colorado and New Mexico early on, drought conditions could continue to worsen during the fall for the Four Corners region, overall. This area is already being gripped by severe to extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Meanwhile, California will continue to endure drought conditions in central and northern portions of the state extending across the Great Basin region.
With the exception of a rain event of two early in fall, the dryness could lead to an extended fire season. Santa Ana winds could also become problematic in October and November, threatening to fan the flames of wildfires.
"I just don't see any relief for California and their drought situation until maybe late in the season, but right now it still looks bad," Pastelok said.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy packed a punch for the East Coast in the last days of October, at the end of the season's peak. This season, the threat for tropical development could again linger late in the season.
"The bulk of these systems will come in September and probably early October, but it looks to me that we're heading into a late season with a storm here and there through November," Pastelok said.
Should a tropical system aim for a vulnerable area that has received significant rain, such as the Southeast, flooding rainfall could be the big issue, Pastelok warns.
"This year, I'm more concerned about the flooding aspect from rainfall more than the coastal surge and wind prospects."