When The Season Turns

Every autumn, it seems, a day comes when the weather changes abruptly. One day you’re standing outside a restaurant after a delightful dinner at about 10:30 p.m., perfectly comfortable wearing a sport coat and slacks with the temperature around 60 degrees, and the next morning you wake up to weather information on your phone that looks like this.

Don’t be fooled by the optimistic “possible light rain” statement on the weather app, either. When the weather change comes, and the season seems to shift in an eyeblink, the veteran Midwesterner ignores the rain forecast and scans the weather app for the dreaded snow icon. Let’s see . . . yes–there it is, lurking on and after 9 a.m. And because the snow is forecast to fall when the temperature is just under 40 degrees, it will be that kind of wet, sloppy, immediately melting snow that soaks everything–the kind of snow that slaps the innocents with brutal, cold reality and sends an unmistakable message that the delightful fall weather is officially over, When such a snow falls, you can only shake your head sadly and move the cold weather gear to the front of your closet.

It’s hard to complain, really, because this year we’ve had one of the nicest autumns you could possibly want, with warm temperatures and, especially, dry conditions. Now it’s time to recall those brilliant days with wistful pleasure as we slosh and slop and slip and slide into the pre-winter period.

The Farmer’s Almanac Nails It

Back in the summer, when there was still a shred of warmth in the world, the Old Farmer’s Almanac published their long-range forecast for the winter of 2013-14, as they have done every year since time immemorial.

I remember news reports chuckling at the dire content of the forecast and pieces like this one, saying that no one should pay attention to the Farmer’s Almanac‘s “outrageous” forecast, because no one can reliably predict whether months in advance. You get the sense that such scorn is due, in part, to the view that the Farmer’s Almanac is the antiquated remnant of a bygone era that can’t possibly compete with modern weather forecasters.

Well, I’m here to say that the Farmer’s Almanac nailed it. I mean, absolutely nailed it. They said the Midwest, including Ohio, would be “biting cold and snowy,” and that phrase aptly summarizes the ridiculously bad weather we’ve experienced this winter. We got pounded with lots of snow in December, and in January we’ve seen a prolonged spell of extraordinarily cold weather — as well as more snow. It’s 20 degrees, snowing, again, and windy as I write this, and the weather app on my iPhone says the weather on Monday will feature snow, a high of 14, and a low of -17. Minus 17 degrees! It’s like we’re living on the Hudson Bay!

I don’t know how they did it — and I’m sorry it’s the case — but the Farmer’s Almanac was right on the money in their weather prediction for this winter. Incidentally, that should cause concern for those of you who hold tickets to the Super Bowl in New York City next week — the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a winter storm over the New York City area come game time.