Winter Weather Forecasts: Long, Cold Winter Called for by Farmers' Almanac
Hank looks at winter forecasts from Farmers' Almanac and the National Weather Service and hopes for the best.
After seeing the cold, wet winter weather forecasts, all Hank can do is hope for the best and smile.
courtesy Hank Will
Just when I was hoping for an easy, down-on-the-farm winter, the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac showed up on my desk heralding frigid weather for my part of the world. In Farmers’ Almanac Managing Editor Sandi Duncan’s words, we should expect an “ice cold sandwich” when winter finally settles in. I wonder just when it will settle in down here in Kansas. Judging by the relatively cool weather of summer and fall, I think it might be sooner rather than later.
Last year, the 2009 Farmers’ Almanac predicted a long, cold winter for most regions. And just as promised, bitter cold and heavy snow pummeled much of the country. Even more surprising was that the cold really put the brakes on spring – especially in the North. I saw it firsthand in Bismarck, North Dakota, last June while looking over some new Bobcat equipment – the lilacs were just beginning to bloom. By then the fragrant flowers were long finished in Kansas. When spring finally did arrive, it brought heavy rains, with many areas experiencing twice the expected precipitation. I’ve appreciated the rains myself – they kept my pastures green through summer and fall.
The 2010 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac predicts “very cold and bitterly cold” temperatures for the Great Lakes, Plains and South Central states. The East and West coasts are expected to experience temperatures closer to normal. I, for one, am not looking forward to the possibility of a cold and wet winter on the farm – the thought of three months of mud makes me weary.
But wait, there may be hope. According to the National Weather Service, we are experiencing an El Niño event that’s expected to build sufficient strength to have a warming impact on much of the United States through this winter. Climatologists and meteorologists define El Niño in some very technical ways, but it is essentially a warming of Pacific Ocean surface waters, which has a significant effect on winds, weather and climate over much of the earth. For most of the United States, El Niño brings warmer than average winters. Now, this is a prediction I can live with.