Early arrival for winter?

First, let me confess that I have a particular affinity for cold temperatures and snow.  Spending all of the first half of my life in the snowbelts of the Northeast, I grew up with a fascination of winter storms.  Decades later, it’s still with me.

With that disclaimer in hand,  I can’t shake the feeling that this winter could be a lot different from recent ones.   “Snow drought” pretty much sums up the past several years for Virginia.  Could this year bring a reversal?  While many climatological indicators don’t support this thesis, it’s hard to deny that the fall pattern so far has been quite cool over the East, with notable early-season dips southward in the jet stream.

There are some hints in the computer guidance for a significant cold spell (much colder than our current cool-snap) towards the end of this month.  With such pattern gyrations occurring in greater frequency this year versus prior years, it’s not a stretch to speculate that, longer-range, wintry weather could make a surprise visit well before the official arrival of the season.

Posted by Jim Duncan  (Posted on 10/19)


11 Responses to Early arrival for winter?

  1. Val says:

    When will you have your winter weather special? We are long overdue for a BIG snow.

  2. Debbie says:

    I grew up here in Chesterfield and have heard more than a few times that lots of berries on the holly bushes means Mother Nature is getting ready for a harsh winter with LOTS OF SNOW! Have you ever heard this before?

  3. Jolene says:

    the wooly worms are very black this year instead of reddish brown. I’ll head on to the grocery store!!

  4. Mike says:

    Nah, the squirrels aren’t picking up acorns and packing them away enough for a snowy winter.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I sure hope you’re right Jim. I miss the snow too! And I know my students do as well…

  6. Sarah says:

    I remember growing up here in Chesterfield and being SOOO mad because all of the halloween costumes were paper thin and we would freeze our bottoms off! Now that I have children of my own we haven’t had to worry about that because usually after walking a couple of blocks they are burning up. I sure hope we get some snow days this year, my children have never seen the kind of snow that I saw growing up, and I want to share the excitment of waking up to a blanket of snow on the ground. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!!

  7. Mary Beth says:

    We used to ice skate on the lakes in Richmond when I was a kid. We always missed days from school due to snow. I would love for Jim to be correct in his prediction for a cold and snowy winter.

  8. Shellie says:


    I have to confess that I share your affinty for colder weather and snow. Dare we hope for a white Christmas?

  9. David says:

    I can remember waiting on the school bus in Northern VA (mid 70’s)as a kid with much colder temperature than we have here the last few years. I can remember waking up one october morning in the 80’s when I lived in Culpeper to find 6 inches of snow that surprised everyone. I remember a winter in the mid 80’s in Richmond where all classes at VCU were canceled and I spent my evening walking around helping to push people out of the snow (mor than a foot fell in that storm). I also remember people in culpeper coming back from hunting Christmas morning and having worn Tshirts and jeans. Weather changes.

  10. Judy says:

    I too am inclined to believe that the long-range outlooks for our winter could be just a bit off. Mother nature has a way of balancing herself out sooner or later and it has definitely been a long while since a “good winter”(according to how you feel about it.) Maybe it is just old wives tales or whatever but I do believe that some things hold a little weight. I have never seen so much fruit or such large fruit on the trees this year and yes, the abundance of acorns is unreal. I have had fruit trees for years and this year we didn’t exactly have a great year for rain although we are up a little there… it was spotty. So far we have gotten 8 wheelbarrow( yes, wheelbarrows versus buckets) loads of pears off of one tree and they are huge! The apples were the same! I don’t think that I have seen that in many many years. As noted, it has been a longtime since we have had these kind of cool downs this frequent as early and as far south as we have this year. We all know that any long-range outlook can be and alot of the time are adjusted mid season. Although they are good at predicting the weather.. the weather can be a fickle thing and change at the drop of a hat. Anyway, I am hoping for snow this year as it has been a longtime. Summer lovers rarely get disappointed so please mother nature, just a couple of good snows and I will be smiling :).

  11. Kristin says:

    If we get this frost tonight as predicted, isn’t this early for our part of the state? I didn’t think we usually saw much frost around here until late October or early November. May this too, be a sign of an impending bad winter to come?!? Oh please, please! The millions of acorns litering my backyard have got my hopes up and this early frost is further raising my hopes, I don’t want to be disappointed again with another snowless year.

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