Water over the Dam

Notes from the North Woods

In recent years, winter weather patterns have become increasingly difficult to predict, especially in the Adirondacks, which has always managed to maintain a tried and true tradition of having snow on the ground by Thanksgiving, followed by a white Christmas and a brief January thaw. However, the recent weather patterns can no longer to be considered traditional.

Due to the numerous disruptions in the age of climate change, it appears all bets are off. And whether you measure the weather by the bands on a wooly caterpillar, or a tally of pine cones the red squirrels tuck away, the fact remains; winter weather just keep getting weirder every year.

Even the old weather rhymes are no longer of any use. “When onion skins are very thin, a mild winter will be setting in. But when the skins are thick and tough, the winter weather will be cold and rough.”

Unfortunately, most people have no idea where their onions were grown, because we all get them at the supermarket.

And while the advent of Doppler Radar has certainly added a degree of veracity to local weather forecasting, I remain a devout disciple of the old, Bird Berdan School of Mysterious Meteorology, which was available every evening on TV Channel 5. Prior to The Weather Channel or Doppler Weather Center forecasts, Mr. Berdan was likely the region’s most accomplished weatherman.

He would check on old black dog at the back door and if the hound was wet, it was raining; and if it was white, it was snowing. If the dog was spotted, there was hail falling, and if the poor old critter had a glazed look all over; why there was likely to be a wicked ice storm in progress.

Despite the numerous advances in weather detection, and the unrelenting barrage of 24 hour, up-to-the minute, weather information broadcasts; the most reliable aspect of Adirondack weather is it’s uncanny unpredictability.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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