Aug 16 2012

Council of Squirrels predict Winter 12/13

With the heat bearing down in the dog days of summer skiers can’t help but seek relief in dreams of a deep, cold winter. The question always is, what sort of winter will the next one be?

NOAA prediction for Winter 11/12.

If you listen to the global warming proponents, last year’s winter is a clear indication of their belief that Old Man Winter should be on the endangered species list. This completely disregards the winter prior (2010/11) as well as the general cooling trend of the last 10 years.

For the purposes of planning for the coming winter, the relevant question isn’t whether there is or is not a long term trend leading to the demise of winter, but whether there will be a short term renaissance of it this next season.

One thing that is absolutely certain is man’s ability to make accurate long range forecasts has a terrible track record. By long range I mean more than a week away. Some guys are better than others, but few can predict the season to come several months in advance with a track record better than major league sluggers, which means less than 50% accurate. Piers Corbyn is an exception, but he doesn’t share his knowledge for free.

Predictive data from International Research Institute for Climate and Society. More statistical voodoo.

One thing I’m confident of, despite his attempts to the contrary, man does not control the weather and even when he tries, he isn’t really in full control of all the components or the consequences. Regardless of who you believe is, I’m confident that only God knows how to control the weather and even if it seems like He has let go of the steering wheel, I’m pretty certain He gives advance notice to those who need to know and are able to listen. We might not recognize the signs, but animals do. At least in my neighborhood the Council of Squirrels seems to have a sixth sense about what is coming.

I hadn’t kept track that much since moving to Truckee, but two years ago it was very clear that the squirrels had received word from on high that they needed to stockpile pine cones for the winter to come. As they knew, the winter of 10/11 was long and deep in the Sierra.

On the heels of that year it was obvious that last year would be different. Instead of incessant chattering and throwing down pine cones like bombs on our roof their absence was conspicuous; the silence foreboding. It was as if they had been told “no worries, no hurry,” and the winter came late and was thin.

Predictions for Winter 12/13 from Scientific American. Weak jetstream = Brutal Winter???

Deb has been saying the Council of Squirrels seems to have put the word out to get it in gear to stock up for the winter to come. As much as I want to believe, it’s August and I don’t want to put too much faith in that. Who is to say that the squirrels in our neighborhood are divinely connected? However, when I received an unsolicited call from a friend down in Visalia about how he has seen an inordinate amount of squirrel activity on his hikes throughout the Sierra this summer it was time to look up and take notice.

Is it going to be a big winter this year? I’m not saying it is, but two things I do know. As ever, it’ll be unlike any winter you can ever remember. Second, the squirrels have been very busy of late, not just in Truckee, but throughout the Sierra. Believe what you want, and plan accordingly.

© 2012

  • Telemangonz

    Sun is moving south, the earth remains warm……monarchs are hatching…..havn’t blocked up wood yet…..tractor is stuck…..Barton fair is starting….average rainfall…some weak trees showing color….summer still holds on…Teleman

  • http://ThompsonPass.Com/ Matt Kinney

    In Valdez and across the Chugach we continue to have a near
    record cool summer. Thus,
    much of last season’s near record snowfall remains on mid-level glaciated
    terrain for the first time in years. This snow will remain and give us a good base on those glaciers
    for early season turn earning. Many large patches of snow away from glaciers remain on mainly north aspects.

    Today it is snowing at six thousand feet as it was
    yesterday. Oct 15 is historically reliable
    as a good start date and then snow through the winter, heavy at times HA! Snow quality and slope stability remain unpredictable in the long term.

    Global warming is predicted to drive weather events to
    extremes in Alaska and there is much evidence to support this. It’s not “just the weather.” There are some patterns developing in
    Valdez that I see that are unusual, but that would be a “white paper”. But here is some more recent
    stuff. Last winter, we broke the
    record for most snow in a 30-40 day period. We also had more extreme wind events(over 100mph) in Oct and Nov than ever for those months. For the past 5 years we have received
    little or no snow after Feb 15th. What’s with that? Valdez could become a very dangerous
    place to live if wind and snow amounts are enhanced by climate change due
    global warming caused by…us.

    Then there’s is the rising oceans that will swamp Valdez in storm surges like most other coastal communities. but hey that’s 50 year away so who cares.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrea.sjolander.5 Andrea Sjolander

    We live Outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the squirrels in out backyard are hoarding the walnuts! Looking forward to a fantastic cold WInter Wonderland!!!!!!!

  • buildakicker

    the deer have been eating all my trees up quick this year. Lots of fawns too… it’s on!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1494632801 Olimpia Brum Justice

    SE South Dakota and squirrels are hogging the walnuts…I think we’ll get dumped on this winter. Too much of a break last winter. I agree only God knows what he’s up to.

  • teletilyouresmelly

    what the hell happeneed to the El Nino forecast that was supposed to favor the South???

  • teletilyouresmelly

    oh hey Craig- that was last year’s prediction!

  • Dostie

    I originally thought it was this year’s prediction too, until I looked closer. The image caption sets the record straight – Winter 11/12 (last year).

  • http://ThompsonPass.Com/ Matt Kinney

    Speaking of extremes, here’s the latest NWS climate summary for Valdez last month. Off the chart rain that left 5 feet of well settled snow above 4000′ with epic skiing on Oct 1.


  • http://www.facebook.com/janice.maddox.52 Janice Maddox

    That’s what everybody is saying in Sierra County! People are predicting a big winter based on squirrel behavior and the fact all the animals seem exceptionally fat in preparation. Nice to see somebody noticed this in Truckee, also. I was just googling predicting weather through squirrel behavior and ended up here.

  • Dostie

    Thought they were backing off a few weeks ago, but they still appear to be pretty active. Not sure if there’s more squirrel activity storing nuts, or nuts investigating squirrel activity. ;)