Warmer temps take the October chill out of IN
Monday, October 30, 2023
This time of year, there's usually a seasonal crispness in the air, along with changing leaves and area pumpkin patches.
But the warm temperatures Hoosiers are experiencing has made it seem more like summer than fall - and climate researchers are noticing, too.
In Indianapolis alone, temperatures on Halloween have ranged from 24 degrees to 82 degrees over the years. And climate change could be a factor in a slow warming trend seen in Indiana since 1970.
Climate Central Meteorologist Lauren Casey said warmer fall temperatures can also worsen certain health conditions.
"The extension of the allergy season can be a nuisance for some people who are sneezing and sniffling," said Casey, "but much more burdensome for people with other, more serious respiratory issues, like asthma."
Casey said warmer air also produces more frequent and heavier rainfall, which creates a favorable environment for mosquitoes.
The radical temperature differences from year to year have helped coin the phrase "Halloween Extreme" - and lately, they've taken the 'chill' out of trick-or-treating.
Another drawback of excessive rainfall and above-average temperatures is their effect on fall foliage. Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana, is a nationally known tourist attraction in the fall - with 20 miles of tree-lined roads.
The state depends on those tourism dollars, and is concerned about the economic impact of climate change. Casey said conditions have to be just right for the best sightseeing.
"Everyone enjoys looking at the fall colors, right?," said Casey. "But the timing, and especially the brilliance of the fall colors, are related to weather conditions. So, if we have these warm overnight lows, that's not conducive to those bright colors. We need cool, crisp overnight lows to get those really nice fall colors."
Brown County reports almost $62 million was spent on lodging, food and beverage, shopping and transportation in 2021 alone.
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