SURRATT: Fall is here, before El Niño exacts its revenge

Published 8:00 am Friday, September 22, 2023

This weekend marks the return of fall.

Ah, fall, when the weather gets cooler, the breezes have a bit of a chill, the leaves start changing colors to beautiful shades of red, brown, gold and yellow and we are freed from the oppressive heat and humidity of the summer months.

Does this change in seasons mean we will wake up, walk outside and enjoy temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s? Not quite.

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Cooler temperatures may be present in those Yankee states to the north, but not here in the Deep South. According to the National Weather Service, the highs will be in the upper 80s on Friday and close to 90 on Saturday and Sunday. The only time we’ll see temperatures in the 60s and maybe the 50s will be at night. That means air conditioners will still be working, the summer clothes will still be out and we’ll still be looking for lemonade and sports drinks to beat the heat.

I have a brother-in-law who lives in Vermont — a Southern boy who’s managed to adapt to his surroundings. He’ll see the cooler weather long before we will. As he puts it, “We’ve had our six weeks of summer.”

For us, our summer could last well into Thanksgiving, given the proper atmospheric conditions. I mean, we in the coastal states live with the threat of hurricanes until the end of November.

I guess that’s one of the more interesting things about living in the South; summer remains an almost never-ending season and instead of six weeks of it we have six weeks of winter — or sometimes what passes as winter. I can remember wearing shorts at Christmas.

Still, given the record heat we went through this summer, temperatures in the 80s could be considered a blessing as we slowly make our way to winter, when the colder temperatures we wished for during the heat wave may have us wishing for summer.

And this winter could be an interesting season.

The reason for that comment comes in the wake of predictions of a strong El Niño coming this winter with predictions for cold weather and rain — apparently a lot of it, according to some forecasters, so get the foul weather gear ready just in case, folks.

So while we prepare and wait for the arrival of El Niño, let’s try and enjoy this cooling down. We have the great Southern tradition of football so get out some on Friday, enjoy the 68-degree low temperature and go watch one of our local high school teams in action. Not a football fan? Get out to the Vicksburg National Military Park and get a good look at the art exhibited by the monuments and memorials.

Get out to a church fair or bizarre and in October head downtown to ride a bike in Vicksburg Main Street’s annual Bricks and Spokes race or head over to the Old Courthouse Museum’s annual flea market and look at the wares for sale under the trees and enjoy some of the delicacies provided by the local churches and organizations.

The weather, despite the still lingering heat, is rather pleasant so get out and enjoy it before the wet, cold days of winter put us under siege.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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