Hang on to your hats, gentle readers, winter’s right around the corner and it could be a doozy. At least that’s what the soothsayers at the Farmers’ Almanac are divining. Snowier than Japan! Colder than a spurned lover’s shoulder! Windier than a chili fest!
Personally, I’m skeptical. Although the Farmers’ Almanac has been offering long-range weather predictions since 1818, I’m not so convinced they know what they’re talking about. One, they forecast weather up to 16 months in advance. Two, they rely on an ancient formula developed 200 years ago by Almanac founder David Young. And, three, they’ve never consulted me, a homegrown forecaster who has accurately predicted our winters for decades.
Let’s grind through this together, shall we?
First, the premature “advance” prediction. Seriously? Sixteen months in advance? Even I know that’s a crock of road salt, and I know this because we simply can’t predict that far in advance what forces of nature will shape our winter weather. What if Alaska’s Mount Cleveland suddenly erupts? Or what if La Nina, fed up with El Nino’s warm embrace, abruptly unleashes her cold fury? Digging deeper, what if our state’s dairy cows, whose gaseous outputs already affect the weather, unexpectedly develop a grain intolerance that produces even more gas?
Second, the “top secret” formula developed eons ago by David Young. According to today’s Almanac editors, this timeworn formula, which does not rely on any type of computer satellite tracking equipment, weather lore or groundhog shadows, takes things like sunspot activity, lunar cycles, planet position and other factors into consideration when making predictions. Geez, I don’t know. Even though I read somewhere that they’ve tweaked the formula to include some basic math equations, how can they honestly ignore the science behind Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow?
Third, the staggering indifference to my unique methods of forecasting. Listen, I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve pinpointed ways of predicting winter weather that transcend all of science, math, physics and voodoo forces combined. Just ask my family! On second thought, don’t ask. As you can imagine with someone who is always right and then always demanding a standing ovation for always being right, they’ve grown tired of me and my weather mania. Nonetheless, and, ahem, quite unlike other uptight institutions that demand secrecy, I’m happy to share how I nail the winter forecast, year after year after year.
My prognosticator’s formula? Come early fall — not over a year in advance! — I pay close attention to three things: arm hair, dog’s breath and bickering. If I notice arm hair that seems thicker than normal (intuitively prepping for greater insulation), dog’s breath that seems unusually sour (nervously aware they’ll soon be eliminating in frigid snow banks) and bickering that’s on the uptick (instinctive honing of cabin fever-induced squabbling), then I know to predict a cold, snowy winter. Naturally, the lack of all the above suggests a milder winter is in store.
And this year? Drum roll, please: I’m thrilled to announce that, based on my astute observations, we can count on a mild winter. Yay! We can let go of our hats!
Let’s just hope our dairy cows stay the course.
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is avpalumbo@aol.com.