Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Winter forecasts vary; Erie ice anglers could be in luck

By John Hageman
Contributing Writer


Sandusky, Ohio — By the end of summer, the number of 90-degree days in some northern towns rivaled all-time records this summer. Anglers have begun their annual chatter about the chances of having a “real winter” this season.


Recent weather models are indicating that La Nina will peak in the Pacific Ocean early this season. This is expected to result in colder than normal temperatures in November and December across North America before allowing temperatures to rebound in January and February.


Compensation for enduring the inconveniences of an old-fashioned cold winter is the chance for anglers to be able to safely ice fish on Lake Erie.


With its populations of walleyes and Western Basin yellow perch higher than they have been in an exceptionally long time, fishing action should be off the charts if ice forms there this season.


Mother Nature has a way of balancing things out when it comes to the weather. But, was the hot summer in response to last year’s mild winter or the cooler than usual spring? Or looking ahead, will a cold winter follow this hot summer?


Several sources of weather forecasters were surveyed to check out their predictions and as expected, and their prognostications vary widely.


The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is the “official” government weather forecasting agency. At this point, it says that there is a 55% chance of La Nina, which normally results in a cool winter.


While NOAA goes further out on a limb for some areas of the country, its climate prediction center on Aug. 20 called for a wide swath through the middle of the country, including the lower Great Lakes region, having 50/50 chances of below and above normal temperatures.


Precipitation predictions for the Great Lakes region are currently being given a 50%-60% chance of being higher than average.


Begun in 1792, the Old Farmer’s Almanac offers a sneak peek at winter weather for the lower Great Lakes. It foretells of much warmer weather than an average winter, despite cooler temps during early parts of the season in December and January, with precipitation levels near normal.


It predicts “more wet than white” with respect to snowfall in the lower Great Lakes, but cold enough to be snowy in the upper Great Lakes. The Almanac does cite the chances for snow for early to mid-December and mid- to late February and early to mid-March.


The Farmer’s Almanac, published since 1818, was the most recent publication to hit the shelves. For the Great Lakes, it speaks of normal to below normal temperatures and a “fair share of snow.” Its U.S. map shows the region overlaid with “Cold, Very Flaky.”


The Farmer’s Almanac derives its forecasts from a combination mathematical and astrological formula that takes into consideration “sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon, positions of the planets and a variety of other factors.”


Direct Weather: One of the first forecasting entities to submit their winter forecast, this group of meteorologists is calling for a “worst of winter” season from Indiana to Maine. Because of what they call “boiling hot lake temperatures,” they are expecting heavy lake effect snowfall in the lower Great Lakes regions that are susceptible to this annual climate phenomena at levels 150% of average.


“Most likely the region of the Ohio Valley, including eastern Indiana, southern Michigan, and western New England in the east to see big snowstorms,” especially Miller Type-B cyclones occurring over the Great Lakes, which are stationary or move slowly to the northeast.


Their team updates their winter forecasts regularly but will issue their final “official winter forecast” in November, after the strength and location of La Nina is more clear.


Accuweather was the latest to summarize its predictions for this winter. For our area, it is forecasting a cold start and finish with a milder stretch of winter in between, averaging 1-2 degrees above normal. Precipitation is predicted to be a mix of snow and rain at 50%-75% of normal levels.

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