TULSA - After last winter's snow, I bought a 4-wheel drive truck.
The latest data shows I won't need it this winter.
In fact, the latest information from the Climate Prediction Center shows Green Country will have a warmer than normal winter.
The large area covers most of the west into the central plains.
But what about snow and ice you ask? The data is a bit more vague on that.
The central plains have "equal chances" for precipitation.
For those of you who still consult the Farmer's Almanac, it has the region right on the line between the Average Winter Temps & Precipitation and the Very Mild, Very Wet area.
So perhaps the truck was a bit of overkill.
Alright, so you want more scientific data? How about these tried and sometimes true weather folklore?
If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming Winter will be snowy and long.
I checked the weather stats for temperatures the first week of August. Remember the 112° we had on the 1st and 2nd? The first week of August wasn't just warm, it was HOT.
So -- according to the adage -- we may be in for a long and snowy winter. Who knows, I may need that truck after all!
If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard and dry.
In July we reached 100° or hotter 18 times. Yes, July was hot, but no one would describe our August as cold.
In fact we hit 90° or warmer 27 times. So we might as well throw this one out.
A warm October, a cold February.
As of this writing our average October temperature is 61.9° degrees. That is 2° below our average temperature.
In fact, we had our earliest freeze on record for Tulsa. So it definitely has NOT been a warm October.
Therefore this folklore implies it will not be a cold February. No 4-wheel drive needed.
Thunder in the fall foretells a cold winter.
We have certainly had some thunder, and it's not even really basketball season yet!
Not a lot of widespread severe weather, but quite a few thunderstorms. According to this saying, you should probably start bundling up.
Confused? Don't be.
The truth is, without a strong El Nino pattern it is very difficult to forecast the upcoming winter. If someone tries to "predict" how much snow will fall, either they are misleading you or they don't understand the weather.
This year I am leaning towards a more mild winter. This does not mean we will not have some very cold days, and some snow, and even some ice.
But overall, the data suggests a more mild winter.
In February of 2011 Tulsa had a record-breaking 22.5" of snow. There is a good bet this winter will not be as extreme.
But just in case I'm keeping my truck! This is Green Country after all.