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BALMY DAYS MAKE IT FEEL LIKE SUMMER, INDIAN OR NOT

If this isn't Indian Summer, it's a darn good imitation.

Temperatures are expected to edge toward 70 again today under sunny skies, taking the edge off Saturday's "cool" October temperatures in the 60s.

And although overnight lows might dip into the mid-30s by mid-week, highs in at least the upper 50s are expected through Thursday.

Call it what you will -- it's still summery weather, with some sunshine and a lot of welcome mid-October warmth.

"Usually, Indian Summer comes a bit later than this -- late October or early November, if we do get a spell of summery weather," said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen F. McLaughlin.

"But it doesn't always happen -- most times, I think, we don't get it at all."

In folklore that dates to the earliest European settlement of this area, a freeze or at least a hard killing frost is needed before a stretch of warm autumn days can be termed "Indian Summer."

"We haven't had a freeze or a frost yet, except in some areas of the Southern Tier," McLaughlin said. "It's just a nice stretch of summery weather, although it does have an Indian Summer kind of feel to it."

So far this year, the frost has settled only on Southern Tier pumpkins.

Throughout the region, the warmth also has been prolonging fall color conditions.

In the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, Allegany State Park this week reported 85 percent of the leaves have changed color.

Cattaraugus County reports an 80 percent color change, with very bright leaves of red, orange, yellow and gold. Wyoming County reached peak conditions with an 80 percent color change this weekend.

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