By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 22, 2012. Today marks the first day of fall and residents of the High Country are already beginning to notice those brisk mornings and starting to talk about the coming cold weather in the weeks and months ahead.
Low temperatures across much of the High Country first dipped into the 40-degree range on Aug. 21 and again for the entire week of Sept. 9 to 15. Though the low temperatures returned to the 50-degree range this past week, the colder weather is on its way.
And cold it will be, at least if you believe The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the weather forecasting website AccuWeather.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac General Weather Forecast and Report for 2012-2013, “We expect that temperatures will be much colder this coming winter from the East Coast westward to a line from the Dakotas to Texas … November through March, temperatures will average below normal from New England southward through Florida and from the Carolinas westward across the southern Rockies and Desert Southwest.”
AccuWeather Long Range Expert Joe Bastardi says that “a combination of factors that parallel the precursors to historically cold winters [makes him believe] there is a significant chance for particularly frigid winters in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 into 2014-2015.” Bastardi said these winters could be similar to the High Country winters of the late 1970s.
For the snow-lovers and area ski slopes, this winter may be a good one. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting “above normal [snowfall] near the Great Salt Lake and in the areas from El Paso to Detroit to Virginia Beach” (see map).
Or perhaps it will be a woolly worm from the 35th annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk on Oct. 20 and 21 who correctly predicts the upcoming winter. Last year’s winning woolly worm Yo-Yo Ma, however, missed on its prediction by a mile. The caterpillar predicted 13 weeks of winter, much of it snowy and all of it cold. As High Country residents know, last winter saw some of the warmest winter temperatures on record and significantly below average snowfall, with Boone only receiving 13.7 inches and Beech Mountain receiving 48.7 inches.
The funny thing about weather in the High Country is that we just never know what it will be like until it happens. Even the best meteorologists (and the most prophetic woolly worms) have a hard time predicting the weather in the Northwestern North Carolina mountains. We will just have to wait and see.
What have you been hearing regarding the winter weather predictions in our area? Let us know at [email protected].