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Fall officially in full swing with Wednesday marking the Autumnal Equinox

No matter which way you look at it - meteorologically or astronomically - the fall season is officially in full swing!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Pumpkin spiced lattes, cozy sweaters, and football... many folks may have already considered fall to be in full swing. But now it's official.

Meteorologists group seasons into four different three month periods, so meteorological fall began on September 1st. It runs through November 30th. This makes it easier to compare patterns from one season to another, from one year to another, because the dates never change.

On the other hand, some people say the astronomical seasons are the more traditional way to mark the start of each season. This is done by equinoxes and solstices, which can vary year to year.

In 2021, for example, our Autumnal Equinox is today, Wednesday, September 22 at precisely 3:20 p.m. This is the moment in time when the Sun's rays will move from north to south over the celestial equator.

This is one of two days during the year when day and night are most nearly equal everywhere on earth. There will be less daylight than nighttime each day now - that is, until March's Spring Equinox. 

While the September autumnal equinox is the astronomical start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the start of the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere.

After the autumnal equinox, days become shorter than nights as the Sun continues to rise later and nightfall arrives earlier. This ends with the December winter solstice, when days start to grow longer once again.  

For those of you who have been hoping for it to "feel" more like fall outside, you're in luck! We have a perfectly timed cold front moving through Wednesday night. It'll bring lower humidity and cooler air for for the first full day of fall on Thursday, September 23! However, we can't always rely on the weather in Jacksonville to feel like the correct season.

When can you tell it's fall across the First Coast?

FALL IS HERE! It's the sun angle and earlier sunsets for me, but also the pumpkin patches popping up around town. 🎃🍂

Posted by Lauren Rautenkranz on Wednesday, September 22, 2021