Questions To Answer This Fall

Woolly bear: Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar (photo by Kate St. John)

It’s early October and the woolly bear caterpillars are back, right on time. But one thing is very odd. The weather is quite hot.

The temperature outlook map shows what we already know: There’s a 70% chance October 2018 will be warmer than normal in Pittsburgh. Highs will be in the 80s today through Wednesday (Oct 7-10)

Temperature Outlook for October 2018 as of 9/30/2018 (map from NOAA

How is this affecting the plants and animals we usually see in October?

In a normal October 20 years ago, fall foliage color would peak in Pittsburgh by the middle of October, sparrows and ducks would migrate through our area, and the average first frost would occur around October 15.  Will those things happen on time this year? is interested in the answer. They’re wondering: “What do you usually expect at this time of year? What does it look like outdoors, sound like, smell like, feel like?  Are your expectations met, or are things different?  Are there trends in your community that we need to be paying attention to?”  

Click here for a list of what we ought to expect in October in southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Record what you find at

(photo of woolly bear by Kate St. John, map from; click on the caption to see the original)

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