The calendar says September, but the forecast can range from July to December. #prairieproblems
— Prairie Problems (@PrairieProblems) September 14, 2014
And you think we have problems? Well, I need a new furnace, would you believe. Let that be an incentive for you. NOW is a good time to check your furnace. Does it need a tune-up? There are pre-season specials, so take advantage of them.
Already there have been frost warnings in the outlying areas, here, and yes, SNOW in Calgary and South Dakota. Maybe you have been thinking about the coming winter already. After last winter (which was the coldest and snowiest in over 30 years) how could you not? And it's not like we had a long hot summer to make one really eager for the brisk fall days and favorite sweaters.
Yes, the first cool days are here. These temps will be gone by the weekend, but for now the jean jacket adds a stylish touch. For a moment, layering is fun again.
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) September 17, 2014
So, now the weekend forecast is for a return to the 80's. What about the long-range forecast? What's in store for Fall and Winter?
What does the Old Farmer's Almanac say? Perhaps you remember the Almanac forecast for last year. Here's my post about it. Yes, they predicted lots of snow and very cold. Pretty accurate, considering they could be using the Magic 8 Ball, and they won't disclose what's in that black box...
And this winter? More cold and snow, shivering and shoveling, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. Almost like last year all over again.
Well, not quite, according to Eric Holthaus on his blog for Slate. He maintains (and I agree) that such long-range forecasting is impossible, and the best one can do is study the developing patterns. He's looking at the warm pool of water in the Pacific to affect the weather this winter.
According to him, the pattern we saw last winter has prevailed all summer. There's even a name for this--the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.
The source of the RRR can be traced to a continent-sized blob of abnormally warm water just off the Pacific Coast. Since the ocean and atmosphere work in tandem to produce our daily weather, that means effects are being felt thousands of miles downstream.
Weather and climate scientists have released new research over the last few months showing a counterintuitive connection between persistent and extreme winter weather patterns and global warming. The melting Arctic has a lot to do with it, but scientists are still debating the details.
He says that the weather models from the Climate Prediction Center are showing a probability of a slightly warmer than average winter for the midwest and northeast. But a deep-freeze in January and February is always possible. When is anyone's guess.
So what does this mean for us, here and now? You can't go wrong with sweaters and hoodies. But don't get out the snowpants just yet.
Oh, and now is the time to check the furnace....
And why not review these subzero style and safety tips?
Like this? Why not subscribe? Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
If you have Gmail, don't miss out. Check your "promotions" box. Move one of my posts from the "promotions" box to "primary" and you'll never miss a post. Thanks for reading!