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Are we experiencing an Indian summer?


Wednesday, September 03, 2014, 16:00 GMT -

There’s talk on social media about it being an #indiansummer – thanks to the expected warm weather over the next few days. But is it?

Here’s a definition from Oxford University Press Dictionaries:  “A period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn.”

If the above definition is taken into consideration, we haven’t had warm weather for a sustained period of time during autumn.

And regardless of how you define autumn – this article by my colleague Jen Bartram explains that in more detail – the season has only just started and therefore not “late autumn.”

So, clearly, it’s not an Indian summer just yet, but could it be?

An Indian summer is a period of warm weather that occurs during autumn – especially in October and November. Some definitions insist the first frost of autumn needs to precede the warm weather before it can truly be called an Indian summer.

The term dates back to 1778 and the exact origin is hazy, though writers speculate it refers to a spell of warm weather during autumn that allowed Native Americans to increase their winter stores.

In the UK, the term’s been used since the 19th century and gained widespread prominence after the 1950s. It has somewhat overshadowed traditional terms used in the UK to describe warm weather in Autumn, such as St. Martin's summer and St. Luke's summer.

Most years there’s talk about an Indian summer whenever the sun pops out. In 2011, we saw a few successive hot days with temperatures hitting highs of 29.9C in Gravesend, Kent – the warmest on record.

Sadly, it’s too early to say whether we’ll get an Indian summer this year. But the good news is, with high pressure sticking around, most of us will get some dry, settled and warm weather over the next few days.

So, summer is back as a guest. Let’s just hope (unlike real guests!) it sticks around for a tad longer.

Follow Jamil Hussein on ,
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