Rough winter ahead? Not so fast

Despite the fact that we did, in fact, have a cooler-than-average summer, there is no “record-shattering snowfall” in store for this winter, as reported by satire news site Empire News – at least not for now.

The same website that has published articles such as “V.P. Joe Biden Still Missing One Week After Initiating Game Of Hide-N-Seek At White House,” and “Tiger Woods To Announce Retirement From PGA Tour To Focus On Miniature Golf Career” duped many folks into believing that this winter onslaught was to begin as early as the end of September. Though the report went viral throughout social media, people soon caught on to the website’s bogus weather forecast.

“You never know, living in the Northeast and all,” said Jordan, a deliveryman for Domino’s Pizza who acknowledged that he fell for the article at first. Others were not as quick to hop on that bandwagon.

Mr. Balco, who has lived in Poughkeepsie for nearly 20 years, said he doesn’t even trust the weekly forecast, let alone one that looks three months into the future. “A forecast for showers turns into a blizzard,” he said. “And I’m supposed to believe right now, that all the way in December, the entire Northeast is going to be under a blanket of snow?”

Fortunately, even though the article on Empire News was all in good fun, establishments such as Home Depot are always prepared for even the most inclement of forecasts, even if they appear over night. “I have worked with Home Depot for several years, and only on a few occasions have we legitimately we run out of supplies,” said one employee at the Poughkeepsie location. “We know that where we are located, eight inches of snow can quickly turn into 16. We are always prepared.”

While Empire News is indeed a satire site, why do people trust other long-range weather forecasts such as the Farmer’s Almanac? Each year, this institution publishes a printed handbook in addition to an online report, both of which people pay for in order to access. The Farmer’s Almanac website states that they employ “three scientific disciplines to make our long-range predictions: solar science, the study of sunspots and other solar activity; climatology, the study of prevailing weather patterns; and meteorology, the study of the atmosphere.”

Even though these trusted forecasts have been proven wrong over time (the Farmer’s Almanac has been in production for over 100 years), long-range forecasts do tend to fascinate us, and for some reason we trust them time and time again. In the end, the only real “long-range” weather forecast anyone should be looking towards in order to gauge their preparations for the upcoming winter is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) three-month outlook which is released each October.

NOAA bases its calculations on the movements of the El Niño or La Niña systems, which cannot be determined this far away from winter. In an article originally on cbsnews.com, a NOAA spokesperson dismissed forecasts such as the Farmer’s Almanac based on the fact that “high skill,” or in other words, highly accurate forecasts can only truly be made a maximum of three months ahead of time; therefore, Farmer’s Almanac or other long-range forecasts should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

For now, nobody knows for sure what this winter will bring us. Of course there is always the threat of a bitter snowstorm, but for crying out loud, there are still five days left of summer. Unfortunately, we will just have to wait and see what El Niño brings us before we head out and buy that new snow blower.

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