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Fall has arrived! Here’s what to expect for the Brazos Valley this season

The new season officially kicks off at 2:21pm Wednesday
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Mother Nature is playing ball with the Brazos Valley this year with a fresh feel and some natural air conditioning kicking on in the wake of Tuesday afternoon’s early-season “cold” front. Welcome to the season of fall! In fact, Thursday morning is expected to be the coolest start to a day the Brazos Valley has experienced since early May. The autumnal equinox officially happens at 2:21pm Wednesday. Here’s what that means as we move into this new season:

Daylight hours continue to shrink as we draw nearer to the first official day of winter (December 21st). On this first day of fall, the Brazos Valley experiences 12 hours, 5 minutes, and 46 seconds of daylight. By the last day of fall, that time shrinks to just 10 hours, 9 minutes, and 53 seconds.

As for expected temperatures in Bryan-College Station and the Brazos Valley:

DayAverage HighAverage Low
First Day of Fall90°68°
Last Day of Fall63°42°

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FALL 2021

The water temperatures over the Equatorial Pacific have once again started turning cooler than average. NOAA has issued a “La Nina Watch” with the expectation that the weather phenomena has a 70% to 80% chance to emerge in a weak state sometime this fall. For the Brazos Valley that typically means a cooler and drier-than-average outlook (think back to winter 2020 when the last La Nina took place).

However, with the expectation of a weak oscillation of the climate pattern and it not beginning until sometime over the next two to three months, the temperature outlook is actually the opposite for October, November, and December. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the Brazos Valley, Texas, and a large portion of the lower 48′s thermometers are expected to run above average. For our area specifically, the odds of an overall above-average fall is the 40% to 50% range.

October - November - December temperature forecast from the Climate Prediction Center
October - November - December temperature forecast from the Climate Prediction Center(KBTX)

The extended outlook for rainfall does fit into what is expected of a La Nina pattern. As of this first day of fall, 2021 is currently in place to go down as the third driest September on record (which date back to the late 1800s). The outlook for the fall season is not promising, with the Climate Prediction Center calling for a 40% to 50% chance for a drier-than-average stretch of months. Specifically, that means that less than 12″ of rain is expected to fall over the upcoming three months. Another reason this is troubling: October’s expected 4.93″ of rain is the highest rainfall average of the calendar year. This is a month that is especially crucial for rainfall to set up the Brazos Valley soil for the upcoming spring.

October - November - December rainfall forecast from the Climate Prediction Center
October - November - December rainfall forecast from the Climate Prediction Center(KBTX)

WARMER FALL IS THE TREND

Fall in the Brazos Valley has been in an overall state of warming over the past 50 years. While there is natural variability year-to-year, a recent study from Climate Central found, on average, Bryan-College Station’s fall months have warmed 3.4° since 1970, equating to roughly 18 more above-average days each time the season comes around. In fact, 234 of the 246 cities the agency analyzed have experienced warmer falls since the early 70s. This trend extends pollen allergies and allows mosquitoes and ticks to stick around longer into the latter portion of the year. Energy costs are also higher due to air conditioners running later into the year, only adding to the carbon emissions that have caused this warming climate.

The average temperature of fall has warmed near 3.5° in Bryan-College Station over the past 50...
The average temperature of fall has warmed near 3.5° in Bryan-College Station over the past 50 years(Climate Central)

All that said, we’ll see what fall 2021 brings the Brazos Valley as we look forward to cooler weather reaching Central and Southeast Texas. Until then, grab a pumpkin spice latte and enjoy this first day of autumn.

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