Winter Weather Hype Here & In High Gear
Tomatoes are still ripening on their vines, leaves have barely begun to fall, and squirrels are weeks away from their annual pumpkin invasion. Yet I don't ever remember this much hype about an upcoming winter this early. Everyone's talking about the blockbuster winter that's about to hammer, cripple, and subdue D.C. Last week, even my plumber warned me to prepare for a harsh winter.
As it turns out, there's a lot of live bait for this feeding frenzy, though none of it's originating here. The Capital Weather Gang's winter outlook won't hit the streets until later this month. But I've traced three initial sources for the hype, starting with nuts and AccuWeather, and ending with a local T.V. personality...
Keeping reading for insight into the hype, but first enter this poll....
THREE REASONS FOR 2009-2010 WINTER WEATHER HYPE
1) Acorn Assault
Acorns are falling at a feverish pace, pounding skylights, and pelting patios. Anecdotally, at least, the acorns seem out of control. So is this an indicator of a rough winter? Yes, according to the Farmer's Almanac which lists an "unusual abundance of acorns" as one of 20 signs of a hard winter. Has anyone observed any of the other 19?
2) AccuWeather Meteorologist Gone Mad, Deja Vu
Last year Henry Margusity, author AccuWeather's "meteorological madness" blog, made this prediction for winter 2008-09: "I think the I-95 corridor folks from Richmond to Boston could finally have the snowstorms they so wished for. I think at least one or two major nor'easters will hit that area with snow events in the 6- to 18-inch range." He predicted 20-30" for our region... a mere 250% too high (we got 8-12")
This year he's forecasting even more, 30-40" (double our average) and writes: "I do like the idea that a few storms will end up bombing out along the coast and it's not out of the question that the major cities along the I-95 corridor north of Richmond get a true blizzard." Sound familiar?
What can I say except every blind squirrel finds a nut once a while... Based on the current nut glut, this could be Henry's year!
3) A Local Forecaster Calling for Chance of Snow, NEXT WEEK!!!
I'm a big fan of WUSA's Kim Martucci, also known as WeatherKim. She writes highly entertaining blogs, and tweets all the time. Not to mention, she's a good meteorologist. But when I read her blog yesterday, my reaction was simply, to quote John McEnroe: You cannot be serious. The headline in her post -- in red bold letters no less --read "SNOW." And to tease the possibility, she showed a picture of the Knickerbocker storm (January 27-28, 1922), the top storm in the area's history, which dumped 28" downtown. The most it's ever snowed here in October: 0.3" (October 10, 1979).
Her rationale for teasing the snow was one run of one forecast model. If I earn a dollar for every time a computer model run forecasts snow between now and April, I will be a rich man. Not to mention, that particular run taken literally might have produced a few hours of wet snow in elevated areas well to our west (Sunday night), and probably just dealt cold rain in D.C. proper (due to warm surface temps).
Let me put it this way, if there is any accumulating snow between Sunday and Tuesday at WeatherKim's residence, I will personally shovel her driveway or front walk.
Hype-ful or hype-free, various outlets will release their winter outlooks over the next 8 weeks. We'll break them down right here...
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