Welcome to autumn. As the calendar officially clicks past summer, it's time to think about the wicked surprises that Old Man Winter will soon bring.
The last two winters have been dreadful, featuring a lifetime's worth of ice accumulations. If that weren't bad enough, both winters were followed by equally dreadful springs, delivering the mother-of-all-rainfalls (2008) and the windstorm-that-resembled-a-hurricane (2009).
We've enjoyed a string of beautiful weather over the summer, but will the gorgeous weather continue, or was this just a decoy for what lies ahead?
If the Farmers Almanac and Old Farmers Almanac are any indication, we're in trouble. Both publications are predicting an ugly winter for much of the country.
The Farmers Almanac places Southeast Missouri at the corner of three zones. Take your pick: "Bitterly Cold" (to the north), "Very Cold" (to the northwest and southeast), or "Colder Than Normal" (to the south). Meanwhile, the Old Farmers Almanac also projects a colder than average winter.
On the other hand, the National Weather Service paints the opposite picture: a warm and dry winter thanks to the effects of El Nino.
I can't put much stock in either the almanacs or the weather service. To me, all of these long-range forecasts are indistinguishable from wild guesses.
And speaking of wild guesses, here's the latest projection from the non-patent-pending Dartboard Forecasting System for the coming winter season:
Some people may look at the last two winters and conclude that "we're due for a good year." Yeah, right. If we're overdue for anything, it's a massive, crippling snowstorm, something we've managed to avoid the last few years. (Ice storms, on the other hand, have been a dime a dozen.)
What do you expect this winter? No wagering, please.
(Well, actually, if you do want to wager, it is possible to (legally) gamble on weather predictions, not that I would recommend it.)