New York Today: A Summery September


When fall feels like summer.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Good morning on this warmer Wednesday.

What’s up with September’s summery weather?

It’s “super anomalous,” according to John Homenuk, the founder of New York Metro Weather.

A “temperature 20 degrees above normal is nothing to laugh at,” he said. “It’s definitely significant.”

He described September conditions as “a roller coaster,” and said it’s not uncommon to have some warmer days or temperature fluctuations around this time of year. But this kind of heat is extreme, he said. For example, when Central Park reached 91 degrees on Sunday, the city broke the record daily high of 89 degrees, set back in 1959. Today’s high will climb to the mid-80s.

A ridge of high pressure over our area — think of it like a large, invisible wall in the atmosphere above us — is causing the warmer-than-usual temperatures. We wondered whether the extreme weather had anything to do with Hurricane Maria.

Quite the opposite, actually.

“That ridge of high pressure is going to steer the hurricane away from us; it almost acts like a block,” Mr. Homenuk said. “After it hits the ridge, it’s going to take a sharp turn east and into the northern Atlantic Ocean, and it’ll dissipate quite rapidly then.”

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And there are signs of this wacky weather around New York City.

Look closely in our local parks and gardens, or on your weekend trips out of town, and you’ll notice that the heat is stalling the progression of fall foliage, at least temporarily.

“Foliage colors are most vivid during ‘normal’ autumn weather,” Mr. Homenuk said, “when nights are cool and days are filled with sunshine but not overly warm, with plenty of atmospheric moisture.”

Hot, dry weather can mute foliage colors — as the leaves lose nutrients and turn a duller shade of brown — and cold or freezing temperatures can also cause damage.

So here’s hoping that things cool down just a bit, as this weekend’s forecast is predicting.

In the meantime, you can track our local foliage with the New York Botanical Garden’s “fall color cam” or the state’s Fall Foliage Report. (And then, when the time is ripe, you…

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