Jupiter, king of gods and weather god in ancient Rome

Jupiter, king of gods and weather god in ancient Rome

It’s only the first week of November, but there is lots of talk in the media about winter and plenty of signs of it in stores. Plus, on the East Coast, we have already had two record-breaking snowstorms. Southern we-don’t-get-snow Columbia, South Carolina got an inch of snow, which doesn’t significant, but it beat out Boston and New York City.

Winter is always weird whether it is unusually warm or cold.  I realized in saving a draft of this post that I have already written 4 articles on the coming winter.  I wrote about winter during the summer when I noticed how many hits old posts about the weather lore that predicts winter were getting.

I wrote about the summer indicators that supposedly tell us what to expect in the coming winter.

I also wrote about checking the wooly bear caterpillars for winter prognostications.

More recently, I zoomed in on the October nature signs that are supposed to predict the coming winter. We had a pretty good amount rainfall, so that should mean a windy December. It was also fairly warm, which should mean a cold February. We had an October Full Moon without frost here in Paradelle which meant no frost until  after November’s Full Moon – and we got past that and my frost-sensitive plants are all still going in the garden.

Of course, all of this lore is pretty localized. I’m sure it was warm in South Carolina in October and they got their first snow last weekend. I don’t know any Carolina weather lore. The most general lore says that a warm fall predicts a cold winter.

More generally, weather lore tells us that thunder in the fall is supposed to foretell a cold winter ahead.

Weather lore is fun and the old tales are amusing, but believing it is a bit like believing in Zeus and Apollo. Now, I like my science and meteorology is a science, but those weather gods seem to be about as accurate on the long-range forecasts as the wooly bear caterpillars.

Seasonal climate models are made, but they get updated all the time (I suspect as they prove to be wrong. Weather gods like revisionist history.) The last winter weather model I saw was revised to show a much harsher winter ahead.

Like that butterfly effect I wrote about yesterday, events like the recent Super Typhoon Nuri and a Pacific cyclone, Hurricane Ana, was partly held responsible for the snows in South Carolina this past weekend.

Like our weather lore signs, scientists look for signs like the unseasonable Eurasian snow cover and the  “ridge bridge” pattern that lets that Arctic air head towards Paradelle and the East Coast all indicate cold times ahead for us.

All these signals point toward instability in a building dome of very cold air over the North Pole that could pour southward at any moment.

But winter here in the Northern Hemisphere is summer down and this recent East Coast cold means abnormal warmth for the West. That general pattern has been true for more than a year and gets the blame for the California droughts.

And, yes, climatologists keep publishing more research that says the pattern was at least three times more likely to form because of a warming planet. The Pacific Ocean, just off the West Coast, is the warmest it has been in decades. Argue amongst yourselves on that one.

I don’t think you should bother God with requests for better weather, but the other weather gods (deities in mythology associated with weather phenomena such as thunder, lightning, rain and wind) might have the time to listen.

Leaves are hanging on this autumn here and that should indicate a severe winter. Were squirrels gathering nuts in a mad rush and having very bushy tails? That means a tough winter to come. But as far as I can tell those squirrels are always in a mad rush and always have bushy tails. I guess that means we will always have winter. I can guarantee that prediction.