Could a Cooler September Prevail?

Could a Cooler September Prevail?

If you broke a sweat firing up the grill this Labor Day weekend, you were not alone. Temperatures swelled into the mid- to upper-90s across large portions of the Southwest, South, Midwest and Northeast throughout early September. Temperatures punched 100°F as far north as North Dakota over the weekend.

But the latest weather analysis shows the heat wave is on its heels. Meteorologists at NOAA, The Weather Channel, AccuWeather and elsewhere are in general agreement – look for a “cooler, wetter” fall than normal, at least in large areas of the heartland, with heat building on the West Coast.

This trend will begin in a matter of days. By Saturday, Sept. 12, areas including Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kan., St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati will see daytime highs that are between 9°F to 13°F cooler than normal, according to The Weather Channel. Meantime, daytime highs are expected to be 5°F to 20°F normal in areas of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Washington during this time, including triple-digit weather in California’s central valley.

Looking at the entire month of September, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says “below-normal temperatures are favored across south-central portions of both the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley.” It’s a different story on the coasts, however, with above-normal temperatures expected to continue across much of the West Coast and southeastern U.S.


The Weather Channel doesn’t entirely agree, predicting cooler-than-normal September temperatures to be pushed further westward, and actually expects to see above-normal temperatures from Missouri all the way to the East Coast.

AccuWeather’s long-term forecaster Paul Pastelok says September isn’t too early to start talking about the “f word,” either.

"The Midwest could get an early shot of chill in the second or third week of September that can get cold enough to produce frost," he says.

Business weather intelligence group Planalytics notes that by Sept. 30, many areas of the upper Midwest (on average) have experienced their first autumn freeze, including large portions of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Planalytics reports no major freeze threats east of the Rockies through Sept. 20, however.

As for weather beyond September? Expect the expected, according to NOAA.

“As the forecasts progress through the autumn and into winter, the pattern slowly morphs to one consistent with strong El Niño conditions,” NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center reports. This means the following conditions are favorable.

  • Below-normal temperatures in the south-central and southeastern U.S.
  • Above-normal conditions in the northern U.S.
  • Above-normal temperatures in the central Mississippi and Ohio Valleys

For more weather coverage and more than a dozen maps that measure soil moisture, GDD accumulation, cumulative precipitation and much more, visit

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