Days may be warmer than average this fall, according to Climate Prediction Center

photo by: Nick Krug

Lawrence trees show off their fall foliage in this file photo from Oct. 15, 2012.

Autumn officially arrived Monday in Lawrence, veiled in fog and cooler temperatures.

“It definitely feels like fall,” said Jenifer Prieto early Monday morning. Prieto is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.

Although the fall equinox signals the end of summer, this year it does not bring the end to summer temperatures. Prieto expects the daytime high temperatures through Sept. 30 to remain in the low to mid-80s range.

The long-range outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center shows the area from the Central Plains to the Rockies having probable above-normal temperatures for the three months leading up to the winter solstice on Dec. 21. Normal fall temperatures for the Lawrence area range between 65 and 75 degrees.

Prieto emphasized that these were just probabilities from the Climate Prediction Center.

“This is not an exact science,” she said.

The Climate Prediction Center’s long-range forecast includes a higher probability of above-normal precipitation. Currently, Lawrence is 11.27 inches above its normal rainfall for this time of year. Over the weekend .91 inches were recorded at Lawrence Municipal Airport, bringing the year-to-date rainfall to 42.25 inches. The norm for this date is 30.98 inches.

Along with changing leaf colors, the fall equinox should bring the first frost. For eastern Kansas, the average date for a first frost is Oct. 12, Prieto said. She anticipates leaves will begin changing colors in the next two weeks.

With the heavy rainfall this summer, there is a pretty good chance for vibrant fall foliage, said Ken Lassman, author of “Wild Douglas County” and the weekly “Kaw Valley Almanac.”

Because of the shorter days and changes in temperature, the leaves begin the chlorophyll breakdown and the green disappears, Lassman said.

“It’s a dance between the earth and the sun,” he said.

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