It is a very warm and humid morning across the state of Tennessee. Nashville broke a record for warmest overnight low for this date. The previous record (63 deg), incidentally, was set exactly one year ago today! (Lord, please don’t let this winter be a pitiful repeat of last year’s practically-snowless winter!) We will have a front just hanging around today, so showers and storms will be possible all day, though we could still see a peak or two of sunshine. There are plenty of showers and storms just to our west right now, slowly making their way east.
Expect the unsettled weather to continue for the next several days, with off and on showers and storms, along with a peak or two of sunshine mixed in. It will be very warm and humid, as well, with highs in the lower 70s and lows in the lower 60s. It looks like winds won’t be too gusty until Sunday, when another storm system will be sitting to our west and north. That system will move in here Monday and Tuesday. By the middle of next week, we’ll be back to normal fall temps (low to mid 50s). There are indications that by the end of next week, we’ll be below normal with temps, which would put us having highs in the 40s.
So, this is the time of year when people really start wondering what kind of winter we’re in for. First of all, long range outlooks are so silly I can’t even believe there published. The accuracy of these outlooks is so pitiful. And that’s the scientific outlooks I’m talking about. The most popular unscientific one is the Farmer’s Almanac, which I lost all faith in years ago. Remember, that almanac predicted deep snows for us last winter (we had 1.5″). And then there’s all the folks who go by various signs and wonders to predict the “worst winter ever.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone predict the “best winter ever.”
It seems like folks are always looking for some apocalyptic winter season that we’ll be lucky to survive. Truth is, no one knows what any winter holds until it’s over. All it takes is one big event. Remember the Blizzard of ’93? People think that was the worst winter in the history of Cumberland County. What they forget is how mild that winter was and that we didn’t get our first snow until the last week of February! It was so mild that winter we had tornadoes in the middle of February. But, because of that one HUGE snow in the middle of March, it is deemed the worst winter we ever had. One snow storm or one ice storm is all it takes to make for a bad winter. So, with that being said, I’ll share with you an article I wrote for the Fentress Courier and the Livingston Enterprise about my take on weather folklore. I’m always open minded to new ideas, so maybe it all can’t be dismissed? I guess we’ll see…
Weather folklore is fascinating, though I question its credibility. I have discounted woolly worms. I always see a black one and think that maybe we’re in for a bad winter. Inevitably, I stumble upon a black and orange and sometimes even a solid orange one. How can something so indecisive be trusted?
There are so many folklores. Some say to look for the height of hornet’s nest off the ground, but I always find a low one, and then I find a high one. The confusion of forecasting winter weather clearly extends to the bee kingdom.
Still other folklores suggest that the thickness of corn husks can predict winter weather. Others suggest that the number and size of acorns, or the amount of leaves that fall from the trees can forewarn us of winter’s weather. I could go on and on.
I recently read a book on weather folklore that claimed that persimmon seeds were the most reliable predictors of winter weather. By slicing a persimmon in half, one will see either a knife, a fork, or a spoon. A knife predicts a cold winter, a fork a good winter, and a spoon a snowy winter. Last year I gave it a try and got a fork, and it was indeed a mild winter. I did it again this year and got a spoon.
The National Weather Service’s winter outlook, which was just released, calls for a mild winter, though they admit confidence in that forecast is low.
As I look in the pantry at all the food we preserve for the winter, I remember what my PawPaw Lowe used to say when asked why we put up so much food. “It’s better than a snowball,” he’d say. If the persimmon is right, we may be seeing a lot of snowballs this winter!