The beauty of nature mesmerizes us in various ways – where trees are contorted and bent in weird ways, and the silvery light of the moon soon transforms into a breathtaking blue sky.
When it comes to the varied seasons of Earth, fall is considered one of the best and most diverse seasons in the USA. Along with the tree leaves changing color, the fall season poses a new set of potential threats that we will discuss today (with a few safety tips later).
Before proceeding, let’s make this clear what the hazards that follow the fall season and what is the fall season. Fall weather hazards are seen during both warm and cold months.
These hazards include intense winds, hurricanes, flooding, droughts, wildfires, fog/reduced visibility, early season snow and many more.
Severe Thunderstorms Can Still Occur
Since the fall season in the U.S. portrays the clash between cold, dry air and warm, humid air, strong to severe thunderstorms are the most frequent during September. However, erratic storm events can continue up to mid-November of the fall months
Leaf Burning Can Be Harmful
The people of the U.S. enter this season with dry soil after an abnormally drier summer. With October being the start of fall fire season, burning dry leaves for an outdoor fire can be both a memorable bonfire and dangerous to the environment.
While burning leaves can be harmful to the human body, it poses a serious threat to nature if you are lighting any outdoor burning in gusty winds.
Branches, pine needles, and leaves get dried up during high or gusty winds, which leads them to burn easily. This can result in places to spark a fire where you don’t want them to burn.
Fog Can Dangerously Reduce Visibility
Fall is known for fog, especially radiation fog, where the temperature falls more frequently to the dew point, and we start to access that cool fall air.
This type of fog drastically reduces visibility to drivers, making travel dangerous which further leads to accidents and major pile-ups.
Early Frosts Can Damage Plants
Frost is as bad as fog when it comes to traveling. While it poses a serious threat to drivers, it can also also be hazardous if left untreated.
Plants, young shoots and fruit trees cannot tolerate frost. A light frost, where the air has dropped below freezing point, but the ground hasn’t, is tolerable, and many plants may survive this occasional drop in the air temperature. However, tender or young plants are probably gonna get killed even by a light frost.
During the hard frost, on the other hand, the air is cold, and the ground is hard, and you must take precautions to help them survive while providing utmost care since a hard frost can severely damage plants.
Early-Season Snow Storms Can Knock Out Power
In 2006, lake-effect snow slumped Buffalo, New York, on October 12-13, resulting in a power outage of about a million customers in the area.
In 2013, the combination of heavy snow and gusty winds led to blizzard conditions in some areas of South Dakota. This also resulted in power outages, road closures and tree damage. Meanwhile, Casper experienced its early and heaviest snowstorm with 16.2 inches.
In 2017, an early-season snow storm struck Montana.
In 2019, late September, Montana was again hit by another early-season snowstorm, resulting in knocking out power and tree damage.
This happens because the heavy, wet nature of most early season snow has the capacity to weigh down tree branches and power lines, which eventually causes them to break. Strong winds also play a part alongside the storm by adding stress to snow-covered trees and power lines while giving rise to a destructive situation.
Hurricane Season Continues Through November
Hurricanes in November are infrequent in the United States but still possible. While U.S. hurricane landfalls after the start of November are uncommon, they are a few rare November hurricanes that have impacted Florida in the past.
Hurricane Yankee affected South Florida majorly with 5.5 million dollars worth of damages.
The memorable November hurricane of 1985, Hurricane Kate, struck Florida and brought 300 million dollars in damages.
Common Cold-Stress Injuries
Cold stress occurs when increased wind speed, wetness, or dampness causes heat to leave the body. It eventually leads to a situation where the body fails to warm itself, resulting in severe cold-related illnesses and injuries.
Some common types of cold-related illnesses are:
Hypothermia occurs most often in the spring season and autumn months. Yes, you read it right. Cold-related injuries and illnesses can also take place in warmer ambient temperatures if the person is wet due to rain or water immersion.
This cold stress occurs when the body core temperature is below 95°F/35°C, and heat loss is greater than heat production.
While frostbite is caused by freezing, trench feet (feet injury) is a result of prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions.
Chilblains (CHILL-blayns) cause one’s skin to swell and become red. It happens due to repeated exposure to cold, resulting in painful inflammation of small blood vessels in the skin.
Some Possible Threats
The weather station would like to share some instances that depict the danger brought by the fall season months:
During autumn or the fall season, when the thermostat begins to drop, you may forget to take the essential precautions to remain safe because of the rush to stay warm.
Less daylight in the fall means a high probability of accidents.
Snakes are preparing for hibernation during this season which increases the unfortunate possibility of your pet (or maybe you) getting bitten.
An early morning frost can make the surface slippery and dangerous.
A patch of wet leaves (maybe) hiding a pothole can be just as dangerous as a big puddle.
Devastating wildfires can occur.
Safely Enjoy the Beauty of the Season
Keeping everything in mind, our team of The Weather Station has curated a list of safety tips for all the fall season threats:
To prevent life and property threatening wildfires, you must properly discard cigarettes, employ fire-resistant landscaping around houses or any commercial property, avoid activities involving open flames or sparks, and not burn leaves, especially when it’s a windy day.
Ensure that the sidewalks are cleared of leaves, ice and snow to prevent slips and falls when the weather gets colder.
Make sure that you have a plan involving an emergency kit and a safe place to shelter in case of evacuation.
Prepare yourself and for your family’s safety against an extreme wind event since windy situations can occur even on a clear day.
Put some effort into inspecting your fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and first aid kits to prevent an event of a fire emergency.
Alert your family, friends and other people you know who drive about autumn road hazards.
Along with the information regarding winter driving safety tips, you should make sure your vehicles are ready for winter.
Apart from these destructive hazards, fall also brings some wonderful holidays, including Thanksgiving and Halloween. Hence, The Weather Station suggests that while following a few safety precautions, you continue to safely enjoy the beauty of the season.