Earliest arrival of the first Fall cold front

Earliest arrival of the first Fall cold front
First Fall cold front arrival from last 10 years (Source: KSLA News 12)

(KSLA) - Every year, we wait eagerly for the first “Fall” cold front. The one that will knock those temperatures down for good. Some years we wait longer than others. Here’s a summary of the last 20 years.

Over the last 20 years, the first real cold front has come sometime from the middle of September to late October. Of course, there are times when a cold front arrives sooner, like early September, but those fronts usually are not strong enough to knock the temperature down long term.

Year Day Cold front Arrives
2000 October 5th
2001 September 22nd
2002 October 6th
2003 September 28th
2004 October 3rd
2005 October 6th
2006 October 6th
2007 October 14th
2008 September 14th
2009 September 22nd
2010 October 11th
2011 October 17th
2012 September 29th
2013 October 5th
2014 October 3rd
2015 October 16th
2016 October 20th
2017 October 16th
2018 October 10th
2019 October 10th

Before I get into the takeaways, first here is the criteria that needed to be met for it to be considered the first Fall cold front.

  1. The daily high temperatures must have consecutive days being in the 70s or lower
  2. There needs to be no more consecutive days with temperatures in the 90s
  3. Temperatures cannot be cooler as a result of a significant amount of rain (i.e. tropical systems)

So, if we had a cold front arrive, and temperatures dropped to the 70s for at least two days in a row, rain was not the reason for the cooler temperatures, and temperatures never heated back up to at least 90 degrees for a minimum of two days, then this cold front would be valid. With that said, there have been some years we received a significant cool-down from a cold front sooner than the date listed above, but either it did not cool to the 70s, temperatures heated back up to the 90s for at least two days in a row, or rain was the reason it was cooler.

Here are the takeaways from this data. The earliest cold front arrival is September 14th, 2008, and the latest is October 20th, 2016. When you count the days, we have received that cold front 15 times in October, and only 5 times in September since the year 2000. When you find the average day the cold front arrives, it is October 5th.

Compared to this year, we are expecting this year’s cold front to arrive Monday, September 28th. That would put us ahead of the curve compared to the average. If you remember, during the week of September 21st, we had 4 consecutive days with temperatures in the 70s. However, that was due to rain and lack of sunshine and not a cold front. So this upcoming front on Monday will be the first official “Fall” cold front.

So maybe the year 2020 is not all bad! It is after all bringing the ArkLaTex Fall weather a little early this year. Who knows? Maybe we will get snow this winter! We will have to wait on that.

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