Indian Summer approaching?

While we enjoy this fine settled period of weather throughout the UK, I thought I would take a moment to look at the origins of, and outlook for, the coming few weeks of weather that is commonly called the Indian Summer.

The Met Office Meteorological Glossary first published in 1916, defines an Indian summer as:

a warm, calm spell of weather occurring in autumn, especially in October and November.

So while I am guilty of, and many others are calling this warm September an Indian Summer, it isn’t technically accurate.

The leading theories regarding the origins of the “Indian Summer” suggest that it comes from the Native Americans (American Indian) who are said to have taken advantage of mild autumnal weather to hunt and forage later in the day to build up winter food stocks.

The first recorded use of the phrase appears in a letter written by a Frenchman called John de Crevecoeur dated 17 January 1778. In his description of the Mohawk country he writes “Sometimes the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warm which is called the Indian summer.”

Shakespeare also used the expression “All Halloween Summer” in Henry IV part I for a period of warm sunshine as October gives way to November, but it is only since the 1950s that the UK has adopted its useage and now it is widespread as any period of warmer weather after August is now called an Indian Summer!

For the next couple of weeks into mid-October, the high pressure is set to stay over the UK with low pressure systems starting to take over when the wind and rain of Autumn will return to close the end of a great spell of weather.

James Madden, meteorologist with Exacta Weather, said: “High pressure is likely to build in from the south of the island of Ireland in the early part of October.

“This is likely to bring some further Indian summer-type weather and mild to warm conditions within this period for several days at the very least, in particular in southern and eastern parts of the country.

“Although some areas will still be at risk of seeing some rain and showers at times, some further drier weather and decent spells of sunshine are likely to develop once again.”

But he warned: “The middle part of October, possibly a little earlier, will see a major reversal of these mild and settled conditions. Low pressure will become a more dominant feature and conditions will become largely unsettled, with above-average rainfall amounts across many parts of Ireland.

“It will also begin to feel markedly cooler, particularly in the evenings when the first major frosts of the autumn could begin to develop.”

He added: “The unsettled theme is likely to persist into November, but with an even cooler edge to affairs as frosts and frequent fog patches begin to develop at times.

“A number of deep low pressure systems are also likely to bring some further periods of strong winds and high precipitation. There is also the risk for some wintry showers to develop within this period, most notably across higher ground in parts of the north, but not necessarily be restricted to these parts.”

Sources for this article.

Met Office – BBC – Belfast Telegraph