Autumn Brings Scenic Weather

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    By Ashley Evanson

    Although summer appears to have faded a lot sooner this year, summer doesn”t officially end in Utah until Friday, Sept. 22, 2006, at 10:03 p.m. during what is known as the autumnal equinox.

    At that moment, the sun will glide across the celestial equator, an imaginary line in space directly above the Earth”s equator, and fall will officially begin, said Patrick Wiggins, NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah.

    But what Utahns really want to know is if the fall weather is here to stay.

    “It will always warm up,” said associate physics professor Bryan Peterson, associate who teaches meteorology at BYU. “Historically, we kind of go through 15-day cycles: 15 days of rainy weather and 15 [days] of warm weather.”

    In fact, Peterson said that this year Utah can expect a slightly warmer fall than average. The cold winter weather won”t actually start until around the first of November.

    Also, with the new season comes the brightly-colored foliage, perfect for taking scenic drives up Provo Canyon. What many people don”t realize is that the colors will fade a lot faster than the warm weather.

    “With higher altitudes, leaves fall faster,” Peterson said.

    Fall colors tend to disappear the first week of October around the time of General Conference, Peterson said.

    “You can tell it”s conference weekend because everyone in Utah Valley drives the Alpine Loop.”

    Many BYU students have already enjoyed the scenic Alpine Loop drive, which is located in Provo Canyon on U.S. 189.

    “Being up there and seeing all the colors is such a nice break from school life and all the stresses,” said Erin Lowe, a nursing major from Draper.

    Students will want to get up there soon. Many people are fooled by the summer weather and will find themselves driving through a canyon full of leafless trees only days too late.

    For more information about localized fall weather, visit the BYU physics and astronomy weather Web site at http://marvin.byu.edu/.

    Alpine Loop Location: From UT-92 at the mouth of American Fork Canyon (near Provo), the road climbs 3,000 feet, then heads south, passing into Provo Canyon and out to US-189. One-way loop trip is 24 miles long and takes about an hour.

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