The autumnal equinox is upon us. Yes, the astronomical first day of fall officially kicks off at 10:21 a.m. Thursday for New England.
However, with the humidity paired and the 80-degree heat, the past couple of days have shown that summer wants to hold on as much as it can before New England begins to transition from summer to fall. The signs of the changing seasons are evident in the fall foliage and the earlier sunsets each day.
However, what accounts for an "equinox"? The fall and spring seasons always begin with an "equinox," meanwhile both summer and winter begin with "solstices." The word "equinox" means equal parts day and night. While technically we do not have 12-hours of daylight and 12-hours of darkness on the equinox, it is the closest that we see to equal parts day and night of the year.
The reason why we see almost equal parts day and night is the position of the sun's rays. The way the Earth is tilted determines our seasons. With the Autumnal Equinox for the northern hemisphere (Spring Equinox for our friends in the southern hemisphere), the sun's rays are positioned directly over the equator. Meanwhile, a solstice (which kicks off both the summer and winter seasons) is characterized the longest day of the year (summer) and the shortest day of the year (winter). This occurs because the Earth's tilt toward the sun is at its greatest point for the summer and its tilt is away from the sun at its greatest point for the winter solstice.
Now to the forecast for New England- It will still feel very summer-like for the last full day of the summer season, however, we can finally feel the humidity decreasing throughout the day. We're in for a much more comfortable morning Thursday before it is officially autumn. By this weekend, we get a dose of cool Canadian air- perfect timing for the first full weekend of fall. How cool are we talking? High temperatures in the upper 60s with overnight lows ranging from the upper 30s to upper 40s.