Seasons in New Orleans

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.

High-Low Chart February 2015-February 2016

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.

Uncommon Cold

I’m feeling better, though by no means 100%, and I’m back at work today. Ironically, as I’ve gotten over my cold, the weather here’s colder than ever. Yes, a cold front swept through overnight, and it’s mighty chilly in New Orleans. (Strangely enough our car has started without problems despite the recent cold weather.) How cold, you ask? Why it almost hit freezing. But not quite. The official low reading was 33ºF, from 6 to 8:00 AM this morning. Of course, with windchill it was below freezing, and Persephone and I definitely felt it. Fortunately it’s only a short walk from home to daycare. The temperature is climbing slowly now, and we’re only expected to crack 50ºF if we are lucky.

The above ruminations are posted for the benefit of my Midwestern friends and family. This cold snap is taking us below average, but it’s not setting any records. We do have hard freezes here, sometimes. But it’s been a while, and that’s fine by me.

Hot & Cold & Inside-Out

The weather has been a bit on the cold side this week, by which I mean highs in the 60s. It was in the 60s in my office when I arrived Monday morning. But by Monday afternoon it was sweltering, over 80º F. Not outside, inside. And the internal temperature continued to run hot as the week progressed.

I don’t mind it a bit cool inside when it’s cold outside, just like I don’t mind if it’s a bit warm inside when it’s hot outside. But somehow when it’s the opposite — hot inside when cool outside, or freezing cold inside when warm outside — that’s beyond aggravating. It makes me feel physically sick. It also makes me angry at the sheer absurdity and wastefulness of it all.

I know a lot of big office buildings have climate control issues. We seem to get more than out fair share.

I’m taking Thursday off to work on the house. But if they don’t get this problem corrected soon, I may just have to take Friday off as well. I can’t think clearly in that environment, and that’s a big part of my job description — thinking clearly.


It hit a low of 44ºF here in Bloomington yesterday. The high? 67º.

Yes, it gets that cold in New Orleans. Colder even. For a few days. In January. Not at the end of September.

This is why I don’t think I can move back to the Midwest.