Long range forecasters are sticking their necks out once again, as they do every year at this time, to give us an indication on what this year’s winter weather might look like. Most long range forecasters are predicting a colder and snowier start to the winter with more normal conditions finishing the season. The reason for this they say is because a strong La Nina, or blocking pattern, is setting up over Greenland. For the northeast, that means more frequent coastal storms with heavy inland snow.
Conversely, The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a milder than normal winter with the coldest weather forecast for November and December. Last year, the first major snowstorm hit the day after Christmas when over two feet fell in our area shutting down roads and transit systems. The heavy storms continued through January and when it finally stopped, over ten feet had fallen in parts of our area. And, was it cold! If you remember, many of last year’s long range forecasters called for a mild, wet winter. Who should we believe?
Some of the most accurate weather wisdom comes from Mother Nature and here is what she is revealing. Like most long range weather forecasts, Mother Nature is a bit fickle. Acorns, which are a staple food for most woodland creatures, are very light or non-existent in some areas and heavy in others. Wooly bear caterpillars are mostly brown in some woods and black in other areas; the blacker the caterpillar, the tougher the winter. Bee and wasp nests, which tend to be higher off the ground when heavy winter snows are coming, are high in some areas and low in other areas. My conclusion is a cold, snowy start and a mild finish. It’s anyone’s guess in this period of climate change.
November begins the deer rut season, so be careful driving around sunrise and sunset. This is the time deer activity picks up. November is finishing up fall cleanups and composting your leaves. Decomposed leaves are an excellent soil conditioner for the garden and to use when transplanting. November is the time to prune trees and shrubs because most insects and fungal diseases have gone dormant. November is the month most animals fortify their winter home and start insulating their dens with material like milkweed, cotton-like seeds. This is one of the reasons I don’t mow my meadows until late winter or early spring. November is the Leonid’s Meteor Shower which peaks between the 13th and the 20th. November is hard frost, the owl hoot and long shadows.
Kicking off the holiday season, smothered in brown gravy with all the trimmings, the roasted turkey gets my vote as top bird on this family holiday of giving. Pardon my halftime nap. Happy Thanksgiving.