What is an Indian Summer? UK heatwave could end abruptly after snow forecasts


The UK has been enjoying its warmest October weather for five years with temperatures of 25C felt in parts of the south, including London.

On Monday, East Malling, near Tonbridge in Kent, saw heat of 26C, while parts of the UK reached 25C for three days running this month for the first time since 2011.

But the Met Office has warned of a stark change in weather in the next few weeks, bringing the warmth to an abrupt halt. Scotland could even see a dusting of snow on Saturday, according to early forecasts.

A spokesman for the weather agency told the Mirror: “The warmer weather is coming to an end for most of us. While unsettled conditions continue for much of this week, with warmer conditions hanging on in the south of the UK, we will see colder air pushing down across the country bringing a cold weekend for many.”

Wednesday will be the last one in London to top 20C for a while (and perhaps the year) with highs of just 14C and 12C coming this Saturday and Sunday respectively.

What is an Indian Summer?

An Indian summer describes a warm, calm spell of weather that occurs during autumn.

Why is it called an Indian Summer?

In the Met Office’s Meteorological Glossary, published in 1916, an Indian summer is defined as “a warm, calm spell of weather occurring in autumn, especially in October and November.”

There are different theories about the exact origins of the phrase. Some say it may originally have referred to a spell of warm, hazy autumn conditions that allowed Native American Indians to continue hunting.

It was first used in the eastern United States, in a letter written by a Frenchman called John de Crevecoeur dated 17 January 1778. In his description of the Mohawk nation, he writes: “Sometimes, the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warm which is called the Indian summer.”

In the UK however, the term “Indian summer” was first used in the early 19th century and went on to increase in popularity. Previously, the phrase “Saint Martin’s summer” was widely used across Europe to describe warm weather surrounding St Martin’s Day (11 November).