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Indian Summer

Who ever heard of wearing shorts in November?

For the past two weeks, students have been able to stroll around Grounds in T-shirts and shorts during the unseasonably warm days, then forced to don heavy sweaters and long pants during the frigid evenings.

Environmental Sciences Asst. Prof. Jose Fuentes said this weather is pretty abnormal for November.

"The primary reason for this warm and sunny weather is the jet stream," Fuentes said.

He explained that Charlottesville and several other eastern cities are experiencing warm days and cold nights because they are situated in the trough of the jet stream. This jet stream -- a U-shaped weather pattern stretching across the country -- helps determine whether students should wear long johns or shorts. Right now, the jet stream is bringing warm, dry air from the southwestern U.S. to the eastern seaboard.

Fuentes said this is a deviation from the norm. Usually, the November jet stream brings cold air from the central Canadian plains.

This long spell of mild weather also has left its mark on the fall leaves, which are lingering on the trees.

"This frigid and hot weather has triggered some really beautiful colors," Fuentes said.

He said the combination of cool nights and plentiful sunlight during the day has caused especially bold colors. Also, the leaves have not yet fallen -- unusual when the trees in Charlottesville are usually mostly bare by Halloween.

Fuentes predicted this Indian summer weather won't be around much longer. He said daytime temperatures will dip sharply in the next few days, and students may have to trade in their shorts for winter coats.

Compiled by Christa Dierksheide


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