By Arthur A. Francis
The Salem News
---- — This year September temperatures were a little below normal and ranged from 84 degrees on the 7th to 44 degrees on the 25th. There were no prolonged periods of warmth during the month. We enjoyed many pleasant days with an abundance of sunshine.
Even though most of the month was delightful, our rainfall was above normal. Our heaviest rainfall occurred on the 5th when a deluge of 1.42 inches fell in a very short period of time. Thunderstorms accompanied this rain. During the last week of the month we measured another 1.54 inches during a three-day period.
The annual October transition from summer to fall is becoming quite apparent, and it won’t be long before our delightful display of vibrant autumn colors will be at its peak over our North Shore region. This is an opportune time of year to relax and take a pleasant ride or walk through the countryside to enjoy one of the most pleasing aspects of nature that New England has to offer.
Of course, the daylight hours are becoming noticeably shorter, and the warmth of the autumn sun is waning. It won’t be long before that first invasion of cold air will sweep southward over New England and bring us our first frost. Although our first frost is usually a light one, be sure to take precautions to protect your flowers to let their beauty last a little longer.
After the first frost, we like to anticipate the possibility of delightful Indian Summer weather to remind us of the wonderful days of summer. Sometimes, though, there is an early season storm. Last year we had a surprise early snowstorm that blanketed Salem with 4 inches of snow! Looking back to 1991, we had the infamous “Storm With No Name” that battered coastal locations along the North Shore.
Normal high temperatures during October are in the mid-60s at the beginning of the month, with lows near 50. Toward month’s end, the highs are usually found in the upper 50s, while minimum temperatures drop to the lower 40s. During the past 30 years, our highest reading was 86 degrees in 1997, and our lowest was a chilling 23 degrees in 2003. Although our average rainfall is just over 3.5 inches, we have had as much as 12.38 inches in 1996 and as little as 0.43 inches in 1924.
Arthur A. Francis is a Salem meteorologist.
SALEM IN SEPTEMBER
Prevailing Wind: Southwest
Peak gust: Southwest 44 mph on Sept. 19
Rainfall: 4.66 inches
Greatest amount in 24 hours: 1.42 inches