BY CHRIS BERNDT
Time to get out your towels, suntan lotion and bikini bottoms: it’s beach season.
Okay, maybe not, but you should be able to excuse the seasonal confusion with a quick step outside or a glance at the recent forecast.
While we haven’t been setting record highs this fall in the Fox Valley, Monday’s temperature was a full 20 degrees above average and only three degrees below the record. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, the thermometers read a beautiful 16 degrees above average and Wednesday, Nov. 5 should mark the fourth day the mercury will climb up into the sixties.
But, alas, this paradise is not meant to last. Temperatures should begin to dip later in the week, and although most of Nov. will be above average in terms of temperature, the winter may not be so kind. It should be taken with a grain of road salt, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting that the winter of 2015-16 is shaping up to be a cold one.
Originally designed in 1792 by Robert B. Thomas, the founder of the almanac, the formula used to predict weather patterns for the publication has become more and more complicated over the last 200 years and claims to be correct about 80 percent of the time.
Meteorologists tend to refute the Almanac, citing the lack of transparency in the methods of the publication and the inherent difficulty in long-term forecasting. In fact, the Weather Channel is going the opposite route in predicting a warm winter in 2016 based on the similarity in strength and positioning of this year’s El Niño to that of the storms in some of the warmest winters on record.
Of course, in this part of the world the phrase “warm winter” is about as oxymoronic as the English language gets, but we’ll take it. The truth is that even the National Weather Service admits that it’s state-of-the-art forecast modeling system is only reliable for a range of about eight days.
One thing is for sure: in two months, when our cars are frozen shut and there’s three feet of muddy snow on the sides of Third Street, we will all be begging for the week in November when the sun was shining and it felt like summer all over again.