It’s fall, it’s summer, it’s fall, it’s summer ... it’s confusing

Bridget Tharp

Don’t pack up your summer clothes just yet.

We got a sneak peek of autumn this week with temperatures in the 60s, but a warm-up is around the corner.

Sort of.

We’ll bounce between daytime highs in the 60s and upper 70s before the weekend, and next week could be back in the 80s.

“It will be a big roller-coaster ride for the next week or so,” said Gino Izzi, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

The week began with a sudden snap of autumn. After an 82-degree Sunday, temperatures dropped to 65 degrees Monday. The same high-pressure system that cued the sudden drop brought cooler winds out of the north to keep temperatures down.

But that could change by Thursday, when warmer winds are expected out of the south, Izzi said.

Expect daytime temperatures in the upper 60s today, climbing to 77 degrees Thursday — and dropping back into the low 60s Friday.

This week’s coldest nights will likely be early today and early Saturday morning, with low temperatures expected around 40 degrees, although temperatures in the 30s at the riverfront and in other low-lying areas aren’t unusual.

But gardeners shouldn’t run to cover their petunias. Though the ground could frost if air temperatures dip below 36.75 degrees, evenings in the Rock River Valley will likely stay above that, Izzi said.

This week’s chill didn’t startle Dan Erwin, manager of parks and horticulture for the Rockford Park District.

Sure, he shuttled some of the large tropical trees, including 35 banana plants from Magic Waters, into the greenhouse. But it’s only a coincidence that temperatures dropped just before the big move.

“We would probably be doing that around this time anyway,” Erwin said.

Tropical plants, like the cannas flowers at Sinnissippi Park or other tropical trees at Magic Waters, must be inside before overnight temperatures dip below 50 degrees.

Besides, the first freeze usually comes around Oct. 7, according to WREX-13 chief meteorologist Eric Sorensen.

He expects a warm-up next week with temperatures about 80 degrees.

“This isn’t fall for good,” Sorensen said. “It is, after all, still summer.”

Staff writer Bridget Tharp may be reached at 815-987-1354 or btharp@rrstar.com.