Now that Labor Day weekend is behind us, two major events mark the transition into fall. The first is the taxpayer-funded babysitter that takes our children out of our hands and hair for most of the daylight hours. This is also known as “school.” The second is the anecdotal winter weather forecast turned out by the quirky Yankees at Farmers’ Almanac that are the bane of every meteorologist nationwide.
This year’s forecast is especially ripe with adverbs calling for an aggressive winter ahead across most of the country. Forget knowing what temp to set your thermostat at to keep the pipes from freezing – if you’re in the Midwest, you’ll be facing “biting” cold. And it’s hard to say which description is more ominous: the “teeth-chattering” cold predicted for the Rockies and Northern Plain states, or the “stinging” cold set to chill New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Louisiana. To me, having recently been marauded by a team of bees when cleaning out my toolshed, “stinging” feels the most threatening.
Skiers and snowboarders have plenty to be psyched about, with above-average snow set to blanket the Midwest, Great Lakes region, and New England. Big snow should hit in January and February especially. The frequency with which New England is positioned alongside terms like “unusually snowy” and “above-average precipitation” should give plenty of incentive to buy a season’s pass this fall. We might also recommend some Yaktrax to make all the other times you’re marching across snow without skis or a board on your feet.
The Pacific Northwest should have a good season as well, along with the Rockies, which suffered from a bit of a patchy snow year last winter.
As we move farther south away from the big mountains and consistent cold, the forecasts for above-average precipitation means areas like the Mid-Atlantic and parts of the South could be in for a few hellacious rounds of freezing rain. These are the storm that turn every surface to ice and make cities like Washington, D.C. impassible for days on end as the half-dozen municipal plow trucks warble around the city trying to clean up the mess. It’s storms like these that make a pair of Yaktrax as essential a part of a winter emergency kit as a down jacket and an ice scraper. You may literally end up being the only person able to survive the trudge to Trader Joe’s for sea salt brownies and frozen pizza.
Keep in mind that winters like these are downright dangerous for the elderly who haven’t yet split for Arizona or Florida. So if that sounds like your parents, holiday shopping should be pretty straightforward this year.
So prepare for what’s coming, stay safe, and have fun this winter! It’s going to be a good one.