Nov 19, 2014

On Winter Predictions . . .

As I sit here typing this (Tuesday night), the wind is not just whistling around the eaves, it's roaring around them, just as it has been all day. Only now the snow's starting as well so it's looking rather blizzardly out there right now.

Normally I enjoy the wind, however after listening to it all day I have to admit it's getting on my nerves a bit. However, I digress.

There was a lively discussion at the gym this morning about winter hitting so hard and fast and what that might mean in the long term. Some believe that because we're getting slammed early it won't last. Others believe it's just the tip of the ice berg and we're going to get slammed for the next six months.

So I thought it might be interesting to do a little research on different methods for predicting winter and a few of the predictions for this winter. Let's start with the fun stuff first:

Ways of predicting winter:

The brighter the fall foliage, the colder and snowier the winter ahead.

When hornets, wasps, and bees start building their nests high up in the trees, you can expect a severe winter with lots of snow.

If the animals around you have an unusually thick coat of fur, winter will be colder than normal.

If the migratory birds start flying southward earlier than usual, it means winter weather is on its way early. However, if they're hanging around in late November, it means the winter will be mild.

Buy a locally grown persimmon and cut it open. If the seeds are in a spoon shaped pattern it represents the shovel you'll need for all the snow you'll have to deal with. A knife shape indicates a cold, cutting winter wind. But if the seeds are in the shape of a fork, you can expect a mild winter with only a light dusting of snow.

If spiders are spinning larger than normal sized webs, it means they're preparing for a bad winter.

Check out the woolly bear caterpillar of the tiger moth. This is the furry, black and brown caterpillar most people are familiar with. The wider the black bands on it, the more severe the winter. But if the brown band is wider then you can expect a milder winter.

Look at the moss growing on any nearby tree: the more moss on the south side of the tree the harder the coming winter.

If you notice the squirrels seem to be gathering more food to store than usual, or burying it deeper, it's a sure sign the impending weather will be bad.

Thicker shells on acorns mean an extra cold winter.

Pine trees will produce larger than normal cones to ensure that some seeds will make it to spring.

Thicker corn husks and onion skins also indicate a severe winter is on the way. The thicker skins are meant to protect the vegetables from the cold.

Fruit trees blooming twice in one year are a certain sign the winter will be severe.

If the sun shines while snow is falling, expect more snow very soon.

If there's a ring around the moon, count the number of stars inside to tell you how many days until the next snowfall. If the moon has two rings around it, it will snow within 24 hours.

If you see lightning in winter, it indicates snowfall within ten days. However, if you hear thunder from the east, it means winter is over.

Predictions for this winter:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the U.S. predicts a warm winter for the western states and possibly a colder one for the south.

The Farmer's Almanac, however, disagrees: With its traditionally 80 percent–accurate weather forecasts, The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. The extreme weather will continue into Summer 2015, which is expected to be predominantly hot and dry.

The Weather Channel also predicts a colder and snowier winter than normal. They also predict that January will be the harshest of months, so brace yourselves.

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