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Indian Summer 24/09/2012

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities weather report: Seldom, if ever, does the air warm as rapidly as on these days of Indian summer. The latter expression is defined as a period of warm, dry weather following a first frost of the season.

That’s what we had, Sunday morning the 23rd, in scattered spots in the slightly higher elevations of Northeast Minneapolis. It was a light frost, but enough to kill uncovered tomato, eggplant, basil and squash plants. (It was also, as last year, two weeks earlier than the average first frost.) The dark and wilted leaves of the pumpkin plants I’d watered last week, but which in the gloaming I neglected, looked quite forlorn in the midday sun. And today is warmer: I’ve thrown the windows open again.

About a quarter inch of rain fell a week ago, near the start of the week’s big cool-down. But it didn’t begin to make up the season’s overall rainfall deficit—rivers in some parts of the state are at near-record low levels.

The Libra ingress chart, cast for Minneapolis, shows Venus nine degrees east of the upper meridian—exactly on the meridian at 85 degrees West longitude (Cincinnati). That indicates a generally pleasant fall season, especially along and near that longitude.

(The Venus line is the pale blue line running vertically
through the center of the map.)

Venus prominent correlates with gentle, southerly winds, bringing warmth and humidity; however, Venus in hot, dry Leo tempers that, promising minimal moisture. With Venus in a close sextile (60 degrees) with Jupiter, a particularly pleasant autumn is indicated. Fortunately, most of the eastern third of the U.S. (with the exception of much of northern Georgia) has escaped the severe drought that has afflicted the central third, so a dry season may be a welcome respite from summer’s heat. As George J. McCormack puts it: this combination is “conducive to fresh, serene and temperate atmosphere that favors out-of-doors activities.  . . . If Mars combines with these configurations, excessive temperatures, especially in warm seasons, may induce atmospheric disturbances.”

Mars does disturb the serenity of the fall weather picture to some degree—indeed, this factor shows a continuance of above-average temperatures east of the Rockies. Incidents of turbulence will be most prevalent within the band of 85-degree longitudinal territory. Neither Venus nor Mars, however, is at an emphasized degree of declination—lessening the extremes to which Mars tends to drive conditions.

In the near term, the Harvest Full Moon on 29 September has the potential for triggering a major disruptive event—atmospheric and oceanic tides will be accentuated: New and Full Moons close to the equinoxes (Aries and Libra solar ingresses) exert extra gravitational pull on airy and watery tides. What adds to the potential for violent turmoil now is the coincidence of the Uranus-Pluto square: this Full Moon presents a tight configuration with those two slow-moving planets. Aside from political and social shocks and surprises, another infrastructure disruption as dramatic and widespread as the June 29 derecho storm is likely; that major take-down of a swath of the national electrical grid coincided with the Sun’s arrival at the opposition to Pluto and square (90 degrees) to Uranus.

What else does this Ingress map tell us? In general terms, we can expect a marked contrast in temperature—more than usual for this season of change—between north and south, for most of the eastern two-thirds of the country. Why is that? Leo, the hottest sign (that of the Sun), is on the south meridian, and Aquarius, the coldest sign (that of Saturn), on the north meridian for all the country east of longitude 101 degrees (Lubbock, Texas) as far as 73 degrees (Hartford, Connecticut).

What about the frost? Those chilly fingers reached into this region in the hours following the First Quarter Moon, which itself was only five hours after the Libra Ingress. At this longitude, Saturn (cold) was close to the upper meridian; if Saturn had been at the lower meridian, a more prolonged cold pattern—more nights of frost—would have been the indication. Instead, with Mars-ruled Aries on the lower meridian, we’ve seen a rapid warm-up.

But drought persists.

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