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This darker, quicker transition through fall affects everything

October 4, 2018

Each October day in Minnesota grows shorter by close to three minutes. By the end of the month, 89 minutes of our precious daylight will be lost.

The sunlight is still strong enough for the mercury to hit 90 degrees early in the month, with highs in the low 80s possible all the way to Halloween.

Daylight saving time continues until Nov. 4. We began the month Monday, with 11 hours and 42 minutes of daylight. By Oct. 31, well have just 10 hours and 13 minutes of daylight. Meanwhile, the normal high temperature will decline, too, from 65 degrees to 51 degrees; the normal low from 45 to 34 degrees.

Some people say there is a sadness in the air in autumn, but we adjust by moving some activities indoors, dressing in layers and making plans. To survive, wild animals must migrate, hibernate or adapt to the colder days and longer nights while remaining active.

Short-lived species like insects might die, leaving their offspring in eggs or some other form to take over in the spring.

Plants likewise prepare for winter by going into dormancy and/or producing seeds or spores that will ensure the survival of each species.

Jim Gilberts Nature Notes are heard on WCCO Radio at 7:15 a.m. Sundays. His observations have been part of the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendars since 1977, and he is the author of five books on nature in Minnesota. He taught and worked as a naturalist for 50 years.

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