By News9 Meteorologist Carrie Rose. Updated September 22, 2008.
Ah, Fall. The most wonderful time of the year! The Autumnal Equinox, or the "first day of Fall," is today, September 22 at 10:44 a.m. CDT. This is when the Sun's rays are directly "over" the Earth's Equator. Earth tilts on its axis, so as it orbits the Sun, the Earth has seasons caused by this tilt and which part of the Earth gets the strongest solar rays. The Northern Hemisphere's hey-day is done as the Sun "moves south."
In case you are wondering, Daylight Saving Time won't end until November 2, 2008, so we still have a ways to go before we "fall back."
This time of year, I start humming my own version of, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" With each passing cold front, I throw open the windows and give in to every Fall-related temptation.
Fall-scented candles: check!
Pumpkins on display: check! (Well, okay, early September is a little too soon for that, but I'm sure I'll give in by the last week of the month).
Fall candy galore: check check!
Checking the Fall Foliage reports weekly: check!
Wait, what? Oh, well I guess I should explain...
As you probably already know, I grew up in Georgia, and Fall has always been my favorite season. My parents had a huge yard with tons of trees, so we were never lacking in leaves to rake (well, for my dad and brother, at least!). The piles could be ginormous, plenty fluffy to get a running start and dive into the pile, never reaching the ground. I used to bury myself in a pile until only tiny dots of light crept inbetween the leaves to my burrow beneath. There's nothing like the smell of a sweaty kid in a pile of leaves! My mom would usually send me straight to the bathtub after all that nonsense!
My brother competed in turkey calling competitions when he was a teenager, and we'd always go to Helen in the north Georgia mountains for the event. It was lovely, all the leaves and the crisp, cool to chilly air! (I'm involuntarily taking a deep breath, almost able to smell it now!) I really miss the trees changing color like they do in the Georgia mountains.
Oklahoma puts on a good show, though, if you know where to go. Think eastward...you know, where the density of trees is much greater (which is related to the fact that eastern Oklahoma has a higher average annual precipitation than, say, west of I-35). I've wanted to take a Fall weekend on the Talimena Scenic Drive ever since I moved here, but I've never done it. Maybe this year I'll gas up the car (oh geez...that could hurt) and finally go with my digital camera in hand! If you've done that drive, I welcome tips and suggestions!
But what about the glorious colors we see in picturesque Fall scenes? Those usually come from the east coast, especially New England. Well you can keep track of the progress at The Foliage Network for the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast United States. Sadly, Oklahoma is not included in these foliage reports...apparently our Fall foliage show isn't noteworthy enough. Humph! But Arkansas has some great resources available, too, for their Fall foliage.
For an explanation on why the leaves change colors in the Fall, click here.
I also love pumpkins. Last year, I admit I went a little overboard buying pumpkins to place on my front porch, including a huge Cinderella pumpkin that was too heavy for me to pick up by myself. For everything pumpkin-related, including world-record lists, click here for the Pumpkin Nook. I must admit, it was always such a pleasure to pull into my driveway after work and see all those pumpkins greeting me! The trick-or-treaters seemed to appreciate the pumpkins, too, as that sent a clear signal that, yes! This house has CANDY! I even have a black cat, Kronk, sitting in the window watching the flurry of activity on Halloween night. Kronk is about two years old, and he is entirely black with lime green eyes. All the kids wanted to see Kronk when they got their candy last year. It's a good thing he likes kids!