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Archive for September, 2011

Midwest Adventures #8 (and preview of #9)

September 30, 2011 1 comment

The eighth installment of Midwest Adventures was published recently as my column in the the Ames Tribune. You can read it here. I’ve been told there’s some funny stuff in there.

The next installment will be a little different. I intend to document the experience of winter day by day. All of this material will be contained in one blog post, so I will update it as often as I can.

It is not winter yet, thank goodness, but fall is in the air. The leaves are turning and falling to the ground. The mornings are cool. However, we still are seeing some warm days. It’s expected to hit 80 again early next week.

The Des Moines Register had a front-page story the other day looking at the long-range forecasts, trying to determine what kind of winter we will have. Long-range weather forecasts are notoriously difficult but there are legitimate climatological signs that can be read. This is what we know:

– Iowa has had five straight winters with more snow than usual. Iowa received 40.8 inches of snow last winter, and 49.2 inches the year before.

– Iowa has had four straight winters with below-normal temperatures. The average temperature last winter was 18.7 degrees. It was 16.6 the year before.

The forecasts are for these trends to continue. That’s not great news for this thin-blooded family.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and have a winter like Iowa enjoyed in 2005-6, when the average temperature was a balmy 25.4 degrees and there was only 26.3 inches of snow.

Of course, the winter experience can differ depending on where you are in Iowa. The state’s northern half tends to see a little more severe winter than the southern half. But not always. It depends on where the jet stream is flowing. Ames is right in the middle of the state, so it could go either way.

I will post the first part of #9 as soon as signs of winter emerge.

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