Friday October 28th, 2011

Greetings and welcome!

It has been a while since I have updated here, but that will get better soon. It is about that time of year to move over here and start talking about snowmobiling, along with the stuff that I usually cover on the site.

The snow isn’t here yet, surprisingly. I remember the year that I painted the photo van it snowed about6″ on about October 10th. Here we are at the 28th and we haven’t seen our first white grass yet.

There have been first snow sightings in the region. The northeast part of Minnesota has been seeing snow in the past couple of weeks. A while back a friend from Ely posted first coating of snow pictures on FB. It looks like they got some yesterday and today according to the radar.

This week it got closer to home. The local news earlier in the week said that they had a little snow falling in Northern Vilas County and across the border into the UP. It didn’t last long, but it was first snow.

A couple of locals in the past week have reported seeing a little sleet or a few flakes mixed in with the light rain. I don’t doubt it. There is a chance of snow in tonight’s NWS forecast, though it is only at 20%.

It will come.

The latest ENSO outlook has us in for a pretty good La Nina this winter. We  have La Nina conditions now, and they expect it to strengthen as the winter progresses.

So what does that mean? Right now the long term outlook is for a warmer than normal November, followed by a colder and wetter than normal winter. If recent weather history is any indicator, it could well be accurate. The Peshtigo River had a great year with very little time with below normal water levels, most of the year was at or above normal this year.

There is usually a hook when I am cheerful about something like this, and here we are. The thing that I have observed is that La Nina can bring some big swings in our weather. When we had that stretch of 70s and 80s a few weeks back I had two winter related thoughts. One was that I should really be outside getting ready for winter, and two, this 20 degree above normal weather for 10 days would really suck in January.

That having been said I think that we could be in for a good winter. Personally I am terrified, I am not ready with the sleds, the truck, the house, and of some consequence, with firewood.

My usual preseason indicators are unusual this year. I haven’t had any paper wasp nests here, or encountered many nests out cutting wood. Usually they aren’t hard to find. This year I ran into four so far. Two were on the ground wrecked, but they were huge. It was hard to say if they blew down in high winds or if a bear did it. A couple more looked to be at about shoulder height.

The woolly bear caterpillars are unusual too. Some folklore says that you can tell the winter by the width of the stripe. This year there was no stripe. They were black with the light color underneath, like they had their hair dyed and it grew out.

At this point I am going to read that as it will be an unusual winter. I just hope that it is good unusual.

In the shorter term..

We have been having some cold nights this week. Lows in the mid-20s have kept a fire in the wood burner lit and made for some cold mornings. We had a couple of dreary rainy days too.

The deer have been out on the roads a lot this week. I have had quite a few E-stops and many deer that would have become one with the truck had they ran the other way. Be careful out there.

Monday night we had some northern lights a little after sunset. There was a lot of green and some red following it. The sun is ramping up into the active phase of solar cycle 24, and even though it is a weak cycle for sure, it still is increasing in activity levels.

Here is a YouTube of a web cam in Michigan. Clouds obscured much of our show, but the Aurora Cam at Athelstane Weather did get some of the early green and a little red through the increasing clouds.

This weekend brings a lot of Halloween parties. I saw that the Peshtigo River Resort is having their usual big cash prize costume contest along with top local band Cest La Vie. The Curve Inn is having a haunted hayride thing, and the paper said that the Sunset up in Townsend was going to have Gilbert Brown and William Henderson as guest bartenders.

Lakewood Zoo is a good stop too. They have a lot of Halloween stuff going on including hay rides and things like that. They also suggest getting there soon if you want to pet a baby white tiger. They are growing up fast and will soon be too big and playful for that sort of thing. The paper said that they also had some grizzly cubs and ring tailed lemurs. Cool.

Tonight we are looking at a minor chance of rain (20%), and a chance that it could be a little snow too. Temps could reach the upper 20s for an overnight low. Saturday looks nice with sun, little wind, and a high near 50. Saturday night goes down to about 30, and Sunday there is a 50% chance of rain.

There isn’t much left of the fall colors, but there is some. Some of the oaks are still holding colorful leaves, and the tamaracks are bright gold.

That is about it for this visit. Have a good weekend and thank you for visiting!