We all want to know what’s going to happen each winter, and it’s always a topic of conversation as fall crawls toward its colder companion season.
So what are the professionals actually saying?
In general, without an El Nino or La Nina weather pattern, it looks to be a moderate winter. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that nowhere in the U.S. will have below-average temperatures, but Iowa and the upper Midwest should be about normal.
However, the Farmers’ Alamanac doesn’t agree with NOAA’s temperature predictions for Iowa. It says only the western third of the county will have warmer than average temperatures and that Iowa and the rest of the Midwest are in for a frigid and snowy winter.
The Climate Prediction Center for the National Weather Service has a map closely resembling NOAA’s temperature predictions, however, western and northwest Iowa fall into the slightly above average temperature category.
Arctic Oscillations may make for turbulent short-term bursts of temperatures and precipitation in both high and low directions, but in general NOAA is predicting that northwest Iowa is going to see a wetter than average winter. The Farmers’ Almanac is also predicting more precipitation for Iowa and the Midwest. The Climate Prediction Center agrees, but it puts Iowa as just slightly above average.
I just sigh when I read the Farmers’ Almanac says below normal temperatures, NOAA says average and the Climate Prediction Center says we’ll have slightly above average. So pretty much they have no idea what’s going to happen, is that what they’re telling me?
It always makes me wonder, why is it so hard to predict the weather?
It is a huge topic, but to boil it down,, basically, weather data is being collected all around the world and is processed by supercomputers. However, calculations are constantly changing because of variables such as how the sun heat’s the Earth’s surface, air pressure changes as ice melts and water evaporates and even the effect of the Earth’s rotation.
An article from How Stuff Works talks about a meteorologist named Edward Lorenz who equated meteorology to the butterfly effect — the theory that if a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it will drastically change something thousands of miles away. Because conditions change so constantly, Lorenz set the limit for accurate weather predicting at two weeks.
The ever-changing conditions make weather in the near future difficult for meteorologists, even with radar, but to predict the next three months or more is even more impossible a feat.
However, the Farmers’ Alamanac looks farther ahead than most, and it is already predicting a late spring. So stay positive about winter, because it may be here for a while.
Each autumn, the world outside is getting ready for a change. Birds are migrating to find warmer wintering grounds. Mammals are eating a lot to increase their fatty insulation and are putting food away for the winter. Trees are dropping their leaves and going dormant. (Read about that here) What about other plants though? How…Read More
You’ve built snowmen. You’ve gone sledding. You’ve had snowball fights. Now, it’s still winter and you don’t know what else to do to have fun in the snow. So we have put together 10 activities that will make the everlasting snow a bit more fun! 1. Maple taffy I love historical fiction, and I grew…Read More
Snowbirds are people that flee Iowa for warmer weather farther south. By farther south, we usually mean Florida, Texas or Arizona. However, for some residents of the far north, like dark-eyed juncos, Iowa is the warm haven to which they flock. As winter sets in, these pretty little sparrows migrate from their breeding grounds in…Read More
We’re in the middle of a blizzard in northwest Iowa. Look outside, and the white stuff looks like a blanket, like it’s all just one mass. But it’s not. In each cubic foot — that’s a box that is 1 foot on each side — there could be as many as 1 billion snowflakes. Use…Read More
We live in Iowa because we like seasons. If we didn’t like seeing leaves bud in the spring and fall in autumn, if we didn’t like to see snowflakes dust the ground, if we didn’t like to a warm fire outside on a cool evening, we would all live in the tropics. This winter has…Read More