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Indian Summer

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For anyone who felt they missed out on a proper summer this year I bring warm and sunny tidings. Our weather is back on a high this week, giving much of the UK a final blast of heat. Similar to those stunning April days many months ago, when we pitied all those who headed to Spain for their Easter Break (it was wet and cool), it will be a time to savor every sun-drenched moment before autumn kicks in properly.

Wafting winds will bring warm air from the south, allowing temperatures to rise 5 to 10 degrees higher than average values. We last experienced such late September warmth back in 1985, when temperatures eventually peaked at 29C on 1st October in Cambridge. East Anglia will again be a favored area for the warmest spots; 27-28C by Friday. However a swathe of 22C to 25C's will cover much of the weather map into the weekend.

Wednesday is the best day all round, with every part of the country basking in some bright September sunshine. Sadly Northern Ireland and western Scotland from this point will never be too far away from Atlantic fronts, which means rain and wind at times, although Friday is not looking too bad at all at the moment. However our friend the 'continental' high will block the progress of this wet weather reaching other parts of Scotland until next week.
Although the summer heat will drift away through next week, we may be in for some drier weather during October. The elusive Azores High returns from its own extended break away from our shores to provide at least the southern half of the UK with a drier than average October.

This warm week ahead is not though, as many have uttered these past few days, an Indian Summer.

Historically the phrase is linked to the time of the Native American harvest or hunt; around autumn before the onset of their cold, stark winter. Others have suggested that 'Indian Summer' was used to describe raids on European settlements by the bands of Native Americans, that usually came to an end during late autumn.
'Indian Summer' eventually made its way over to Europe during the 19th Century and became associated with St. Luke's Day - 18th October. In the world of weather lore,

There is often about this time
A spell of fine, dry weather,
And this has received the name
Of Saint Luke's little summer

Most official weather bodies agree that it's a time of unseasonably warm and dry weather after the first very cold, frosty spell - anytime from mid October onwards. Michel-Guillaume- Jean De Crèvecoeur in 1783, in his Letters from an American Farmer, wrote,

"Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer."
Today the meaning has been somewhat diluted and overused. It's now attached to a fine and warm spell anytime from the beginning of September onwards - despite many a forecaster quoting the definition until they are blue in the face.

What it does promise though are a few halcyon days of blue sky and sunshine. With conditions just right for a colourful autumn in our forests and woodlands - after a growing season full of ample moisture (I think that sums up our summer) and a dry and bright autumn with some frost free nights, we can expect a glorious foliage display - perfect for some outdoor living. Enjoy.