Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kinder, Gentler Winter?

I grew up in the South. Hand in hand with that was the arrival of the annual Farmer's Almanac. I remember my dad bringing home several copies from work. It was a given that the almanac would be at local businesses for distribution every year. What blows my mind is that this thing is still in publication and has been every year since 1818; and many farmer's still rely on this information when planting their crops.

I recently heard on a radio news report that the Farmer's Almanac is predicting a milder winter than last year. That only seems expected considering the amount of snow fall we had last year from New England all the wall down to Florida. Heck, I have pictures of my parents' beach house with snow on the beach. Snow on the Beach! It sounds like some kind of crazy concoction with ice cream that you could order at your favorite neighborhood bar!

Last year's almanac "predicted that February would bring widespread snowfall, including many blizzards. That prediction proved all too accurate, with snow blanketing states as far south as Florida and a beast of a storm – dubbed “Snowmageddon” by President Obama – shutting entire cities down throughout the Mid-Atlantic region."

In further reading the 2011 Winter Outlook, it is predicted that Old Man Winter will have a Split-Personality this year with colder than normal temperatures for those of us on in the East (even down to FL), milder than normal in the West and near normal for the middle of the country. There is also a prediction for 3 major storm systems. "In terms of precipitation, three storm tracks are expected to predominate during this upcoming winter season. One will be across the Gulf Coast and Southeast, delivering copious amounts of precipitation from lower Texas across the South (Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia) into the Mid-Atlantic region. A second storm track will be oriented across southwestern Canada into the Great Lakes, producing a procession of fast-moving “Alberta Clipper” systems that will bring snowier-than-normal conditions to parts of the Northern and Central Plains, and to the Ohio River and Great Lakes region. As these clipper systems move off the Atlantic Coast, colder-than normal conditions will move into much of the East. Disturbances sweeping in from the Pacific are expected to bring above-normal precipitation to parts of the Pacific Northwest. All things considered, when comparisons to last year are made, we believe that for most, it will turn out to be a “kinder and gentler” winter overall."

There are a lot of other fun things in the almanac like zodiac and astronomy AND they have stepped into this century and actually have a website. Here is a link if you are interested in ordering the hard copy or poking around the site.

To sum it up, the radio did not have it exactly right, unless you live on the West Coast. Looks like we here in the East will be in for another cold winter. I would like to see at least one snowfall. Only this time it would be great if it happened during the week so I might miss work instead of the weekends! After all, it IS an anomaly to get that much snow in central Virginia and so everyone does get out and take pictures and snowboard down snowy streets, and do things that make us look like tourists in a northern city.

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