Autumn already in San Diego? Meteorological fall has started. Here's what that means

Is this the excuse you needed to order yet another pumpkin spice latte? Maybe

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With this year's unseasonably cool and wet weather across the region, San Diego County residents might be feeling like fall has already started.

If this is you, you're not entirely wrong. The fall season — as most people know it — does not actually start until Sept. 22. That is called astronomical fall.

But meteorological fall has already started. It began on Sept. 1 and goes until Dec. 1.

So, what's the difference?

What are meteorological seasons?

Meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle and range across three-month increments, or around 90 days, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Brooke Martell.

It's more consistent than astronomical fall because it's more closely tied to the regular calendar, hence starting on Sept. 1 and ending on Dec. 1.

Due to the fact that meteorological seasons start on the same date every year, their stats are easier to calculate, according to Martell.

Winter is typically the coldest season and summer the hottest both meteorologically and astronomically. But in meteorological seasons, spring and fall are the transition months.

 Here are the meteorological seasons:

  •     Spring- March, April, May
  •     Summer- June, July, August
  •     Fall- September, October, November
  •     Winter- December, January, February

The start of astronomical fall in San Diego County

Does this mean you can start lighting your fall-themed candles early and order your pumpkin spice lattes (even if it's still too hot for a warm beverage)?

Of course, says Martell, who waited no later than day one of meteorological fall to light her pumpkin candle.

But don't burn through all those pumpkin candles just yet — astronomical fall starts on Sept. 22 at 11:49 p.m. PST.

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