HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Signs Of Winter Coming

James Zahara Weather Blog

It may still be warm outside but the look and feel of autumn will be here before you know it, and the one question emerges in the minds of many everywhere…

“What kind of winter will this year bring?”

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Yep. I’ve been getting that a lot these days.  So, what’s in store for the 2013-2014 winter? Well, the best forecast weather models can give us some hints..but why wait.  Some people believe that the power of forecasting may very well be just outside your door. They believe that nature has a way of telling us if a harsh winter is just around the corner.  There are countless ‘Tales’ that have been past down from generation to generation to help determine what our winter will be like.  Well, here’s just a small sample that may ring a bell:
Early arrival of crickets on the hearth.
Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering the house in great numbers.
Pigs gathering sticks.
Insects marching a bee line rather than meandering.
Early seclusion of bees within the hive.
Unusual abundance of acorns.
Muskrats burrowing holes high on the river hank.
Narrow orange band in the middle of the Woollybear caterpillar warns of heavy snow.
The squirrel gathers nuts early to fortify against a hard winter.
Frequent halos or rings around sun or moon forecast numerous snow falls.
Thicker than normal corn husks.
Woodpeckers sharing a tree.
Early arrival of the Snowy owl.
Early departure of geese and ducks.
Early migration of the Monarch butterfly.
Thick hair on the nape (back) of the cow’s neck
Raccoons with thick tails and bright bands
Mice eating ravenously into the home.

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Finally, my favorite out of the whole bunch, “For every fog in August there will be a snowfall.” Hmmm. So, looking back at my stats from last August I counted 13 days..two of those days visibility down to zero.  I’ve heard this one from my dad, many moons ago when I was a kid growing up in Chicago.  I have to admit, most years its was very close. Let’s see what happens this winter, snow lovers!

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