Meadville Tribune

Breaking News

Local News

November 17, 2012

Wild or wimpy? Prognosticators take stab at predicting winter

LINESVILLE — If you’re looking forward to a cold, fierce, snow-covered winter — payback for the wimpy, mild Mother-Nature-phoned-this-one-in winter of 2011-12 — this would probably be a good time to move to Boston. Or anywhere along the Interstate 95 corridor, for that matter, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.

Locally, it could go either way. According to meteorologist Brian Mitchell of the National Weather Service in Cleveland, the latest outlooks give our immediate area equal chances of getting either above-normal or below-normal snow and temperature.

“We’re kinda looking toward a normal type of winter,” he said optimistically, noting that even the latest forecast for the next 14 days could best be described as “normal.” All in all, there’s absolutely nothing out there on the forecast horizon leaning one way or another toward colder than normal or above normal.

However, Mitchell was quick to point out that even a fair weather pattern doesn’t necessarily mean sunshine for this part of the country. It tends to stay cloudy, he added, because winds coming across the lakes pick up enough moisture to develop clouds — but that’s not always going to produce sky-clearing precipitation.

In Vermilion, Ohio, just west of Cleveland, home of the annual Woollybear parade — one of the largest parades in the state of Ohio — the fuzzy prognosticators announced last winter that the season would not be as severe as the previous winter.

Having pegged that, the eyes of the nation were on the woollybears’ stripes this year. The caterpillars are black with a copper-orange band around their middles. According to the legend, the width of the stripe forecasts the severity of the winter ahead, with lots of orange predicting a mild winter and a tiny line warning of severe conditions. According to Dick Goddard of Cleveland’s fox8.com, who organized the first woollybear parade 40 years ago and hasn’t missed one since, this year’s woollybears are predicting a return to more normal temperatures with snowfall at or just above normal.

Local woollybears were not available for comment.

Since August, AccuWeather.com has been predicting heavy snow along the I-95 corridor and warning that intense coastal Northeasters could be included. However, the Winter Outlook 2012-2013 map from August showed above-normal snowfall along the East Coast the above-normal line formed a diagonal across Pennsylvania, missing everything from Pittsburgh to the far northeast corner of the state.  By November, the above-normal pattern on the map had shifted north, still missing Crawford and Erie counties but including almost all the rest of the state.

At the Crawford Conservation District office, where “furcasts” from Willard the groundhog contributed greatly to local coverage of Groundhog Day until he moved on to, shall we way greener pastures, Director Lynn Sandieson expressed doubts about the woollybear predictions, noting that she’s heard that the size of the stripe simply reflects the age of the caterpillar.

As for the district’s forecast for the coming winter, “I have no way of knowing,” she said. “I’d guess it’s probably going to be a little bit colder than last year.”

Looking forward to February, Sandieson said she also had no way of knowing whether a forecast will be forthcoming. “We’ve seen a groundhog on the side yard, grazing all summer long,” she explained. “He’s a happy groundhog, but we’re not sure if he’s staying in Willard’s hole.”

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Well inspectors trying to keep up during boom time

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 27, 2014

  • cycle Young stunt cyclist to bring show to 'Thunder'

    V-v-v-v-eroom! is the high-pitched whine from the Honda CBR 600 sport motorcycle as Steven Pilic rolls back the throttle and speeds down the asphalt. In one quick, smooth motion — just like you put one foot in front of the other — he shifts his weight forward on the handlebars, jumps from the bike’s foot pegs, lands his feet on the seat and pulls the 400-plus pounds of metal up onto its back wheel, using a combination of balance, brakes, clutch and speed to circle slowly at first and then faster and faster, tighter and tighter while doing a wheelie.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tornado watch issued for Crawford County

    The National Weather Service in Cleveland has issued a tornado watch for Crawford County.

     

    July 27, 2014

  • SUNDAY ISSUE: 'Free-range' parenting

    The case of a woman arrested after leaving her daughter at a park while she went to work is sparking discussion across South Carolina — and even the rest of the country.

    July 26, 2014

  • pymatuning History majors rule at Pioneer & Art Festival

    Those looking for living history exhibits at the 21st annual Pymatuning Pioneer & Art Festival weren’t disappointed Saturday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Organizers ready to stimulate Meadville with next weekend's Thunder in the City

    Started six years ago by Dave Stone, owner of Mickey’s Central Station, as an event to “increase commerce and stimulate the economy,” the annual Thunder in the City Classic Car and Motorcycle Show in Meadville has done that — and lots more.

    July 25, 2014

  • Conneautville celebrating 200 years

    Thursday was a relaxed opening day at the Conneautville Bicentennial Celebration, but things will get hopping today — literally. A frog jumping contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.

    July 25, 2014

  • PennDOT seeking outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stabbing charges dismissed against Bloomfield woman

    A Bloomfield Township woman accused of stabbing her live-in companion last month is a free woman after the alleged victim in the case didn’t appear in court Wednesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Guys Mills boy wins national PBS Kids Writers Contest

    July 24, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks