The last two weeks of October sure were miserable with all the cold and snow. Maybe that helps us appreciate this stretch of nice weather in early November? Can this stretch of nice weather be called an Indian Summer? I have heard the term Indian Summer since I was growing up. I always understood Indian Summer to mean warm weather and sunshine in the fall after a hard or killing frost. So, my understanding is we met the requirements to call this an Indian Summer, but what is the "official" definition of an Indian Summer?

I did a search on the internet and found an article from the National Weather Service called what is Indian Summer? The National Weather Service says: " True Indian Summer is a period of abnormally warm weather following the killing freeze of autumn. A killing freeze occurs when the overnight temperature reaches 28 degrees or colder and may or may not occur with frost." Well, this is autumn, we saw temperatures well below 28 degrees and high temperatures in the 70's are much warmer than normal. The normal high is 46 degrees.

How about that, I was right at least in the view of the National Weather Service. The Farmers Almanac has a more detailed definition of an Indian Summer in North America. "Indian Summer is a phrase most North Americans use to describe an unseasonably warm and sunny patch of weather during autumn. The phenomena is generally observed anywhere from mid-October to early November and normally occurs after the first frost."

The Farmers Almanac defines a "true" Indian Summer when the following criteria are met. "Temperatures must be above 70 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of at least seven days or more after the fall equinox. In the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, the heatwave must occur after the first frost." There is no question according to the Farmers Almanac this nice weather can also be called an Indian Summer. The other question is how did this type of weather come to be called Indian Summer?

The Farmers Almanac says no one knows how this type of weather came to be called Indian Summer but there are a couple theories. One is that American Settlers mistook the sun rays through hazy autumn air for Native American campfires which resulted in the name Indian Summer. Here is the theory I like. Native Americans recognized the weather pattern and used the time and nice weather to gather more food for the winter. That is what we know for sure, soon this Indian Summer will end and winter will soon be here!