SCORES & OUTDOORS: Let’s take a look at what’s to come

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

We’ve turned another page on the calendar and we are now entering into the time of year when the holidays are upon us, and the wintery weather is on the horizon. What is in store for us this year?

Well, most of my natural signs are not visible this year. One of the forecasters of snow amounts, the hanging of bee hives, was not present this year. The activity of the bees was almost non-existent toward the end of summer. Remember, the higher the hives, the more snow can be expected.

Secondly, the wooly bear caterpillar. Old farmers folklore states the wider the rust colored band on the furry caterpillar, the milder the winter. I have not seen one single, solitary wooly bear caterpillar this year.

The onion peelings are the only one that I have been able to use. My wife and I use a lot of onions. In this case, folklore has it the easier to peel, the milder the winter – the onions have been relatively easy to peel.

The first cicadae was heard on or about July 26 this past summer. Farmers’ folklore says 90 days following that, we will see the first killing frost. Although the 90-day period ended on October 26, it usually doesn’t take effect until after the next full moon, which was October 28. Although a frost was predicted, it didn’t happen in the Kennebec Valley. Side note: It was 37-degrees when I drove to work on October 30. However, there was a frost on October 31.

So what’s in store? Well, I had to go to several sources to find out. Coming up with a consensus was difficult. But here goes.

Winter officially arrives this year on December 21, 2023. On the winter solstice, those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere are tilted as far away from our Sun as possible.

Many sources are predicting snow, seasonable cold, and all of winter’s delights! This winter’s forecast will surely excite snow bunnies and sweater lovers alike, promising a lot of cold and snow across North America.

Snowfall will be above normal across most snow-prone areas. Get prepared for plenty of snow throughout the season! Keep a shovel at the ready early, especially in the Northeast, where snow will arrive beginning in November with a myriad of storms, showers, and flurries continuing through the beginning of spring.

Along with above-normal snow, we’ll see normal to colder-than-normal temperatures in areas that typically receive snow. Expect just the right amount of chill in the air for an afternoon of adventurous snow sports like snowmobiling, skiing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Only snowy New England and the Atlantic Corridor will enjoy winter temperatures milder than typical for their regions. Which I guess is good news when it comes to the heating bill. Much of the U.S. coastline, from New England down to Florida will see mild to cool temperatures.

The Old Farmers’ Almanac explains that we are approaching the middle of Solar Cycle 25, which is increasing in intensity and already as strong as Solar Cycle 24, which possibly had the lowest solar activity in about 200 years. Such low activity has historically meant cooler-than-average temperatures across Earth, but this connection has become weaker since the last century.

They go on to say the expected El Niño has emerged and should gradually strengthen into the winter. El Niño is a natural climate phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Typically, El Niño conditions result in wetter-than-average conditions from southern California to along the Gulf Coast and drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Will we see a “Super El Niño?” We also expect a warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and a cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Also significant are the equatorial stratospheric winds involved in the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, or QBO.

Wow! My head is spinning!


Amazing how much of a difference a week makes. After feeling good about the New England Patriots’ last second upset win against the Buffalo Bills, our collective bubbles were burst with this past Sunday’s performance against the Miami Dolphins. The 31-17 loss was disappointing, especially after scoring a touchdown on a long pass early in the game that gave the Pats a 7-0 lead. I guess it’s on to Washington and a showdown with the Commanders. A winnable – and loseable – game.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

When was the last time the New England Patriots started a season 2-6.

2000. Bill Belichick’s first year as head coach.


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