Tales and Trails

Winter predictions


Thanksgiving week is awesome for deer hunting and huge meals but horrible for real time hunting updates. For that reason and the fact that I’m still in the woods, the opening deer hunting report will appear one week from today. Make sure to tune in next week, same time and same station, for that report.

I still have an outdoor column for you and it’s the perfect time for today’s topic. Every year the predictions fly around like big buck stories on what kind of winter we are going to have. It seems like the more you look, the more confusing it gets. More snow, less snow, colder than normal and warmer than normal are the across-the-board predictions that you will find without a lot of effort. I have narrowed down the field to four sources.

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) seems to have taken the middle road in its predictions. Their temperature model shows a 50% chance of above average temperatures and a 50% chance that temperatures will be below normal. WAIT, WHAT!? Yep, on the national map the NOAA paints our area of Minnesota and Wisconsin white with a legend explanation of “Equal Chances.” How’s that for not taking a side?

I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking the exact same thing: What about snow fall? Well, it’s exactly the same thing. The NOAA prognosticators have found a formula that will make both snow lovers and wannabe snow birds happy. There will be “Equal Chances” of more than normal snow fall and less than normal snowfall. I guess next April they can look back and say, “See, I told you so,” no matter what happens.

The Farmer’s Almanac is more decisive and predicts below normal temperatures and more snow than normal with both January and February having significant storms. Honestly, I’m okay with the snow forecast because I have a whiz bang snowblower and it’s ready to go. I sure could do without the long subzero temperature stretches that are predicted.

I came across my next two winter prognosticators several days apart.

I found the Wooly Caterpillar on the left (see photo) crawling around on my deck and I found the one on the right two days later during a walk.

In order to correctly decipher the caterpillars I found this online. Clearly the Wooly Caterpillars are in agreement that we are in store for a “Moderate Winter.”

In conclusion, the NOAA cannot sit on both sides of the fence and maintain a voice of authority. I do like the Farmer’s Almanac; I just don’t like its forecast of below normal temperatures. So, for two reasons I totally believe the Wooly Caterpillars. First, I’m in favor of their forecast of a moderate winter and second, how could you not believe two of the cutest weather predictors ever?

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November 23, 2021