For Some, Winter Just Began!
As last weekend approached, the entire east coast of the United States began bracing for a possible winter storm. Though it was the middle of January, areas from the Carolinas all the way north to New York had yet to experience substantial snowfall.
That finally changed!
Throughout the weekend, reports poured in of heavy snows in Washington, D. C., traffic tie ups in Tennessee, rush on stores in Maryland, and cancellation of flights up and down the eastern seaboard. Snowfall records fell by the wayside in state after state. At long last, winter had arrived.
Oddly enough, thanks to El Nino, the rest of us had already been enjoying our winter. There have been blizzards on the High Plains and Southern Plains, freezing temperatures throughout the south and snow in areas that rarely see such occurrences.
Weather anomalies occur all the time. The earth is a complex ecosystem, and even minute changes in its air currents, ocean temperatures and atmospheric makeup can have far reaching and unpredictable results.
After 2015's record-breaking heat, meteorologists scrambled to figure out just what would come next. The warmer than normal winter was exactly what they had predicted for the northern one third of the U.S. They had also predicted that the southern U.S. would have a cooler, and wetter, winter than was normal; and, that is what has occurred.
It's rather interesting to note that meteorologists weren't the only ones who made these predictions. The Old Farmer's Almanac also had a similar set of forecasts. They will not disclose the exact method they use to determine their forecasts; but, they have a remarkable track record with their weather prognostication over the years.
I can be a bit obsessive about the weather. There are no less than four different weather apps on my phone. I check updates to the forecast on a regular basis. I look at satellite images, radars and discussions about what we can expect for the next few days, weeks and months. I've found that their long term forecasts (all of them) are closer to guesswork than to actual scientific evaluations. In the short term, they do pretty well with the three to five day forecasts; but, improve markedly with 24 to 48 hour forecasts.
For someone who lives in Dallas, a forecast is a way to plan a camping trip or attendance at an outdoor musical event. Houston residents only really worry about a forecast if it's August and there's a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico. That isn't the way we view the weather here in Mason County.
We have to decide if the upcoming weekend will be good enough to work cattle. We need to calculate the arrival of rain so that we know exactly when to fertilize. When our hunters in Beaumont call, we need to be able to let them know if they're going to have good weather for the weekend they've planned their arrival.
Also, we live in the Texas Hill Country. Though it's known by many monikers, one of the most accurate is "Flash Flood Alley." Sudden heavy rainstorms in our area of the state can be devastating, even deadly. We need to know if livestock should be moved to higher ground. We need to prepare in case of high water. We need to figure out which vehicle is the best to use for the next week.
Around my house, we may go to bed before the sports and late shows come on; but, we will almost always stay up until the weather forecasts have finished on the local channels. We go to bed with at least a moderate amount of confidence that we know what kind of weather will greet us come morning light.
And then, we quickly go check the forecast for the rest of the day....
It’s all just my opinion.