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Will winter return to beat us up again?


October 1, 2014
By Mike Jiggens


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Many of us across Canada are still reeling from the harsh winter we experienced last year. Now, we’re hearing that the coming winter could be just as bad.

This is, of course, if you put any stock at all into what you may read in the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Although the publication boasts an accuracy record of about 80 per cent in its weather predicting, I’ve always been a little bit skeptical of its methodology.

To me, it’s not a whole lot more scientific than basing the late winter/early spring forecast on whether or not a groundhog sees his shadow. It’s more of a curiosity than anything else and is a light-hearted way to get your mind off of the final throes of winter.

Last year’s winter was said to be a 40-year winter or the type you might expect to experience perhaps twice or three times at most during a lifetime.

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To have to endure that for a second straight year would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Let’s hope the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s prediction for the coming winter falls into its 20 per cent of inaccuracy.

Already at this time—in fact in early September—parts of Alberta have already seen their first snowfall of the season. But, a little more than a week later, temperatures were pushing 30 degrees Celsius.

What’s always predictable about the weather is that it’s always unpredictable.

Here, in southern Ontario, we just finished a summer that, by and large, was not typical. We had one or two days at most in which temperatures exceeded 30 degrees, there wasn’t the normal amount of humidity associated with a typical summer, and we didn’t have prolonged periods of serious drought.

Golf courses, whose greens were beaten up badly by last year’s winter, don’t need any kind of one-two punch that the Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests could happen.

I’ve accepted the fact in recent years that life is too short to start fretting about what might or might not happen during the winter or any other season. For now, as I write this, I will enjoy this nice stretch of late September Indian summer for which temperatures are topping 20 degrees each day until the end of the month.

When winter arrives, I will deal with it accordingly, all the while hoping it doesn’t drag it heels as it did last year and leave a mess of things once spring arrives. The turfgrass industry certainly doesn’t need to be kicked again when it has finally been able to get back up.