Winter Forecast

Rocky Butte Park

Like every place I’ve lived up north people in Dickinson love to talk about the weather, and relish the opportunity to preach about the impending worst winter ever. The only thing more fun it seems is warning newcomers from the south about winters past and the coming perfect storm. I experienced this phenomenon my first winter in Bozeman when a fellow worker Tom warned me all summer long and beginning with the first frost and everyday after how cold it was going to get. I grew up in Arizona and that first winter was nothing like I had ever experience, but there was no way I would give him the satisfaction of knowing how cold I really felt. Every time he would ask if I was cold and remind me it was going to get colder I would shrug nonchalantly and say it isn’t so bad. My breaking point came in February working outside and the temperature about ten below and a twenty mile an hour wind.  I finally broke and asked Tom if this was cold yet.  To his credit he admitted that it was in fact really cold, and at least than I had a point of reference. I have lived my adult life in Iowa, the Dakotas and Montana and have never heard anyone forecast a particularly mild winter.  In addition to the Almanac and the National Weather Services, I have heard forecasts based on the heavy hair of animals, storage piles of rodents, early waterfowl flights and last year the spleen of a pig. Sometimes they’re right other times wrong and quite honestly none more accurate than the other.  Winter can be beautiful but dangerous and preparing just makes sense. I’ve learned to not spend so much fretting about winter that I don’t enjoy arguably the best time of the year. This year we have had so many beautiful fall days that are too gorgeous to waste. The fall is the perfect time for that last round of golf, a drive through the Badlands, walk in the park, my favorite pheasant hunting, and even raking leaves.  Still the Farmer’s Almanac weather bible to so many is predicting a colder and snowier winter than average, and the national weather service is predicting a colder than average winter with slightly above average snow. With out hearing from the pork spleen yet let me add my forecast to the rest. Winter will be here soon enough so don’t waste the last days of fall and no matter what Mother Nature brings it won’t be anything most of have not been through before and nothing we won’t survive.

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