Bad winter ahead?

We’ve had a couple of frosts already at Meadowcreek.  Ice day before yesterday.  Only down to 35 last night though.   But thanks to our hearty lumberjack chef and his cohort, the dorm is ready for the week’s visitors.  He built a great fire in the great room last night and the stove was still hot this morning.  All the visitors are looking forward to his great breakfast too.  I’m not sure we need anyone else here as long as we have him and his crew.

Then again, since we want to be resilient, we must cultivate redundancy.  So, I guess we should always be on the lookout for more lumberjack/roofer/chefs.  Things do look good for this winter, though.  Even if its a bad one, like some say.

As devotees of complex adaptive systems theory, we don’t hold much truck with predicting the weather–other than January will usually be colder than July.  And April is usually wetter than August in Arkansas.

It is fun to watch the signs, but hard to remember what the spoon in the acorn is supposed to mean.  There is one sign that is probably reliable though.  Bad weather in Siberia in October seems to predict bad winter weather for most of the US.

Last month, Siberia experienced record snowfall and the worst blizzard in a decade.

Above-average snow cover in Siberia is believed to affect the infamous polar vortex and send bitterly cold temperatures to the US. This happens when the Arctic Oscillation, a climate pattern, shifts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes it this way: “Air pressure is higher than average over the arctic and lower than average over the mid-latitudes. The jet stream shifts southward of its average latitude.” That steers frigid, polar air southward into North America.

Above-average Siberian snow cover often means a negative oscillation pattern. But not always.  And it is especially not certain that will happen this winter. Myriad factors, not the least of which is the strong El Niño being experienced globally, come into play.

October snow cover was above normal in Siberia this year, but not as bad as the previous two Octobers. Moreover, Arctic sea ice extent remains below normal.

If you can figure out how to interpret it, check out the Arctic Oscillation reports that the National /Weather Service provides.  They do a 14-day forecast.

We’re not too worried, though.  Winter at Meadowcreek is delightful.  We seem to get more snow than just about any place in Arkansas.  It’s fun to come here with lots of supplies just before a big storm hits.  Then you can hole up and read and write to your hearts content.  And go tromping around in the snow and even do some sledding.  One great hill goes straight down to the pond for a nice ride unless the pond isn’t frozen enough.

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