Hello fellow readers,
Winter predictions are always a popular topic this time of year. You’ve heard the folklore; the wider the middle brown section of the wooly bear caterpillar the milder the coming winter. The more frenzied the nut collecting of squirrels the harsher the winter. While visiting the Lakota Wolf Preserve in early August, Pam noted their critters were way ahead in developing winter coats indicating a tough winter ahead. The legends go on and on and are fun to anticipate but we look forward to the official opinion of the experts.
Marcia of Columbia turned me onto an authority in our area – the Eastern Pennsylvania Weather Authority (EPAWA) who recently released their 2013/14 Winter Outlook. They provide detailed technical information based on trends of several indicators using acronyms and lingo that frankly are puzzling to me kind of like today’s business jargon. “There are some indications that warming in ENSO regions 3.4 and 4 would suggest a weak El Nino may begin to develop sometime in January. This, combined with some other factors (especially a declining QBO) is a grand slam for snow lovers.” Oh boy, at least I understand the grand slam part.
They did share some easy to understand associations such as there is significantly more snow cover in Canada this time of year as compared to the last two indicating less chance cold air will moderate as it reaches our latitude. Translated, arctic blasts are likely to last longer. Another variable, the sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic are warmer than usual due to the lack of tropical storm activity which may hold snow events longer on land. Wahoo, it sounds like a grand slam indeed!
Speaking of business jargon mumbo jumbo; while trying to predict this winters’ forecast, I read through the analytics and drilled down to get to the minutia of the winter weather ahead. But at the end of the day, I circled back and reached out to the reliable woolly bear caterpillar.
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