The term 'Indian Summer' is often used to describe a warm, sunny spell of weather in the autumn. But what exactly does it mean?
The Meteorological Office (or Met Office) defines an Indian summer as; 'a warm, calm spell of weather in autumn, particularly in October and November'. A bit vague perhaps so perhaps it's origins might help . . .
Where does the expression come from?
The exact origins are uncertain, with various writers speculating that it may have originally referred to a spell of warm, hazy autumn weather that allowed Native American Indians to continue hunting. Which sounds plausible, but the truth is no one really knows.
So are we experiencing an Indian Summer?
October has been warm on the Isle of Wight, with light winds and good spells of sunshine, so the answer could be yes. However, the warmest UK recorded temperature for October is 29.9 °C (in Gravesend, Kent on 1 October 2011). The average temperature on the Island last week was around 16°C, so I suspect that unless we get a really warm spell over the coming weeks we are not in Indian Summer territory just yet.