The impending autumn goes from abstract concept to an actual chill in the air on Thursday.
As a super-strong cold front moves through in the wee hours, this first blast may feel a bit more like winter when contrasted with Wednesday's (record breaking! -- at least in Bridgeport, Conn.) warm temperatures. Highs will be about 20 degrees cooler Thursday, when the peak temperature for the day will probably be reached shortly after midnight and continue to slide after that. Most of the day will be spent in the 60s or colder.
Gusty winds on Thursday night will bring windchills in the city down to the 30s and 40s -cold enough to send even the most die-hard fashionistas in town for New York Fashion Week scrambling for a utilitarian coat.
Following the super-front, the chill will linger across Greater New York for several days under clear blue skies, with afternoon temperatures not returning to the 70s until the middle of next week. Late-night lows will stay in the 30s and 40s, especially outside the city.
It's getting awfully late in the year, and while we'll probably see the 80s again at least once or twice, those days will probably be few and far between from here on out.
Extreme Weather and Climate Change? It's been nearly a month since Hurricane Irene made landfall, and many in the northeast are still counting their losses. The latest estimates of insured losses released this week come in at around $5.5 billion, with total economic losses probably at least twice that. This makes Irene the 10th billion-dollar natural disaster of 2011 -- never before have so many large disasters occurred in a single year.
After the tornado in Joplin, Mo., earlier this year (another billion-dollar hit), environmentalist Bill McKibben published a controversial op-ed in the Washington Post drawing a connection between the increasing frequency of extreme weather and climate change. A group of leading scientists agrees.
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