Meteorologists point to stormy winter

Rhiannon Branch/The News

Story by Destinee Marking, Staff writer 

As the leaves continue falling and the temperatures slowly dip, predictions of winter weather activity are abound.

Meteorologists are predicting an active winter for the region.

Jennifer Rukavina, WPSD-Local 6 chief meteorologist, said a La Niña building over parts of the Pacific Ocean will influence the weather pattern the area will experience this winter.

According to Weather Channel’s website, a La Niña  pattern is “the periodic cooling of the equatorial eastern and central Pacific Ocean.”

“A winter season influenced by a weak La Niña is more likely to see a higher risk for storms both winter and severe,” Rukavina said.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we can expect big snowfall this winter. During a Facebook question and answer session with local viewers, Rukavina said it is starting to look like an active winter jet stream.

“That would allow bigger temperature swings (cold spells) and increase our chance for snow,” Rukavina wrote. “Doesn’t mean BIG snow but just snow.”

Rukavina said winter conditions can be expected later in November, but snow will not fall for another few months.

“Typically we see a little snow in December, but many times in the past our region has seen our bigger snow events during February and March,” Rukavina said.

The area has experienced sudden temperature decreases recently, but Rukavina said this is normal this time of the year.

“Fall experiences this because the sun is declining to the south, and North America is transitioning from summer to winter,” Rukavina said. “Fall is known as the transition season.”

These predictions fall in line with those of The 2018 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

According to the annual publication, temperatures will be colder this winter than last, but these temperatures will not be below actual average. Additionally, precipitation throughout the country will be above the normal levels.

Two folklores people look to predict the winter weather are the wooly bear and the persimmon seed.

Rukavina published a blog post in October detailing two popular folklore people use to predict what the winter will bring. These are the woolly bear and the persimmon seed.

According to the post, the folklore regards the segments of a woolly bear’s body. Woolly bears are 13 segments long, representing the 13 weeks of winter. The front and behind segments are black while the middle segments are orange.

“The position and length of the orange bands signify when and how long a warm period (weeks) will occur during the winter,” according to the post.

The other folklore has to do with the shape of the kernel inside a persimmon seed. The shapes includes spoon, knife or fork.

According to the post, a knife shape indicates a cold and icy winter, a fork shape indicates warm and dry and a spoon shape indicates a cold and snowy winter ahead.