We joke a lot about seasons in New Orleans. A typical formulation: We have two seasons here, summer and Christmas. Another riff recognizes four: Carnival season, festival season, hurricane season, football season. There are many variations.
Nevertheless, I’d like to present an attempt to delineate the conventional four seasons according to local parameters.
Starting on the second day of February, 2015, my daughter and I began tracking the high and low temperatures on a daily basis. We have now accumulated a year’s worth of data.
It’s been fun. Looking back over the charts, certain patterns suggest themselves.
Based on this preliminary data, I would like to propose the following definitions.
In New Orleans…
…spring begins when the daily lows stay above 60ºF for one full week.
…summer begins when the daily lows stay above 70ºF for one full week.
…fall begins when the daily lows fall below 70ºF for one full week.
…winter begins when the daily lows fall below 60ºF for one full week.
Using these definitions, we can say that in 2015, the seasons began on the following dates:
Spring: 10 March
Summer: 9 May
Fall: 5 October
Winter: 2 December
If these dates are typical of our annual pattern, we might say our winter lasts roughly three months, while summer lasts five. Spring and fall in New Orleans are ephemeral, lasting only a couple months each.
That sounds about right to me.