Waiting for the season of winter

Every year, about this time, people start talking about what the Farmer’s Almanac prediction is for winter. Will it be colder than normal, will there be more snow than usual, etc.?

The past few winters have, in my view, been relatively easy ones. Could it be due to global warming?

Is it just mother nature normalizing things? It has always seemed to me that the peaks and valleys of the weather tend to get spread around the world so that things even out.

If it is hot here, then it is probably cold there. If is unseasonable wet here then, somewhere else, it is probably going to be unseasonably dry.

But, this summer and fall have had some anomalies that I haven’t often seen. For example, we didn’t seem to have the usual fall burst of color in the trees. Some of the leaves never seemed to turn color at all, but just dropped-the color of a brownish green.

Most years, up the lake, you can see zebra mussel shells caked to the docks when they come out of the lake. This year, I saw very few-at least with our dock. Does that mean anything? Maybe it was just an “off-year” for zebra mussels. Probably having fewer zebra mussels in the lake is a good thing.

A good friend who has an old orchard usually spends a few week-ends harvesting apples and then squeezing them for cider. This year, there were many fewer apples and not much cider to make.

We had a wet July and did that have something to do with these things? There were a lot of gypsy moths/caterpillars around earlier in the summer. Did that affect things?

There was an alert earlier in the summer that there was a fungus of some kind around that had resulted in a bird kill, and we were advised to stop feeding the birds or at least clean and disinfect our bird feeders. I didn’t see much of a drop off in seed-eating birds but, on reflection, I haven’t seen as many worm-eaters, like robins, around.

There was news on a storm system that created an anomaly in the jet stream which then stalled over Oregon, Washington and British Columbia creating a heat dome. Several people died in the northwest from the overpowering heat. Many did not have air-conditioners because they usually don’t need them in that area. The article blamed climate change as a probable cause for the heat dome.

There were huge floods this year in Italy and Germany. What is going on there? Fires in the west have been bad again-welcome to California! Changes in the weather and the actions of mother nature make you wonder.

Overall, we live in a pretty benign area of the country when it comes to weather, but does this year portend something changing?

Could we be looking at an “old-fashioned” winter like the one we had in 1977, or will it be another “ho-hum,” warmer-than-usual one like the past couple have been?

I don’t really know. The only thing I know for sure is that the last time I looked, the Chautauqua Ridge was still a thousand feet or so higher than the Lake Erie plain, the winds are still coming from the west, and the nights are getting colder-all the makings for our beloved “lake effect” snow.

I guess we had better get ready for winter!

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.


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