Tim’s Official 2017-18 Winter Prognostication
UH-OH! We're behind the eightball
The snow on Thursday night into Friday morning was easily over an inch, at 4.4". This weekend saw two more snows of over an inch. Saturday's total was exactly one inch, while Sunday we received just over that (1.1") This brings our season total to eight snows of an inch of more, and my forecast is only for nine! Yes, only one more snow of an inch or more is expected. I'm standing by my prediction, although with so many potentially snow days still to come, I'm getting a bit nervous. What do you think?
So far this season:
- Dec. 11, 1.3",
- Dec. 28-29, 3.3"
- Jan. 14-15, 3.1"
- Feb. 3-4, 2.3"
- Feb. 5-6, 2.2 "
- Feb. 7-8 4.4"
- Feb. 10, 1.0"
- Feb 11, 1.1"
The winter storm warning issued for tonight prompted a review of our snows to date. We've had five snows totaling an inch or more already this year, and seem to be in pretty good shape for the nine total we predicted.
So far this season:
- Dec 11, 1.3",
- Dec. 28-29, 3.3"
- Jan 14-15, 3.1"
- Feb 3-4, 2.3"
- Feb 5-6, 2.2 "
Although we don't recommend "counting our chickens," we think getting more than an inch of accumulation tonight is pretty much in the bag. Tonight's snow should bring our total to six, so we'll only have three more this season!
Yesterday's official snow total at Dubuque was 1.3". That's one of nine we're expecting!
Saturday's Snow was deep enough to track a cat. Therefore, we can complete our winter forecast. As the date on Saturday was the ninth, nine snows of one inch or more are expected this season.
We've ruled this snowfall NOT deep enough to track a cat. It shouldn't matter a great deal, as a cat-tracker is forecast for tomorrow.
Science -- Schmience! As is becoming an alarming trend in our nation, we’re ignoring things evidence based, and turning to the clues Mother Nature shares with us, as interpreted by our ancestors and delivered to us in the form of weather folklore as we divine the coming months’ weather. With apologies to the inspiration for and my mentor in weather predicting, the late, great Gordon Kilgore, this is my official winter 2017-80 prognostication.
We’ve watched the wooly bear caterpillars with great interest this year. On the whole, they seem about average in their mix of tan to black. They do seem a bit more fuzzy than normal, though. It seems readily agreed upon that the number of mice and spiders invading our homes is up, and they seemed to get an early start this year. This year’s nut harvest was plentiful, and the squirrels have been busily stashing them away. Hunters report normal to above normal amounts of fat on the squirrel’s backs. Although our first frost was on the late side, snowflakes were first seen this season on October 27th, which is about on schedule. These clues, plus the heights chosen for nest construction by the kingfishers, muskrats, and hornets along with a healthy dash of gut-feel lead me to the following forecast.
Winter 2017-18 will see a return to more normal weather patterns for our area. Our winter will start a bit early and be colder than the last two. We’ll see well above our normal of around 38 inches of snow, but our all-time record of 78.7 inches won’t be broken. The winter won’t be terribly cold, but we will see short-term cold snaps. Early snow cover will keep our early winter temps down, but mid-winter temps will be about normal. Occasional mid-winter warm spells will melt the snow away. Look for cold weather around the holidays and again around the beginning of March.
Our next sign will be the date of the first November snowfall deep enough to track a cat. The date of that snow will indicate the total number of snows to expect this winter. If the first “cat tracker” comes on or before November 15th, expect the number of snows of an inch or more to match that date. If it comes after the 15th, the date will match the total number of measurable snows.
Tune up your snowblower and check your boots for leaks, but don’t let "snow-mageddon" be among your worries this year.