Baumhower: The winter that never wasWritten by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask any Toledoan right now “What’s the biggest story happening here?” and you’ll get two answers —. the weather and the weather. We are one of the fortunate cities that has four distinct seasons: hot summers, beautiful crisp autumns, cold and snow filled winters and welcomed sunny and wet springs. However, this year it appears we had a longer fall that blended perfectly with spring. There was little snow, no school cancellations, no salt trucks, no Winter Storm Warnings, no White Christmas and no shoveling. It sounds like the Dr. Seuss book except the Grinch stole our winter.
Like most area residents, I have been waiting for the other snowshoe to drop, because we never have winters like these. We always get the snow eventually, right?
The paranoia started when The Blade published an Oct. 6 article, “Horrible winter is likely for Toledo,” warning citizens of the upcoming winter.
“The coming winter season could easily be one of the top 10 worst in Toledo history, according to AccuWeather Inc., the private weather forecasting service based in State College, Pa.,” the article began. AccuWeather was predicting the second worst winter ever for Chicago, and since we normally catch the same storms or the remnants of them, we were due to have an awful winter.
If the lack of snow wasn’t worrisome enough, now we are having a record hot March. Eighty-plus-degree days have made our lawns green, our shorts come out and have my kids discussing when the pools will open. These beautiful days have somehow given us more stress. Toledoans are acting like the Munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz” right after Dorothy dropped a house on the witch; we are scared to come outside because we can’t trust this weather — something bad is going to happen.
I called local TV weather personalities and demanded some truth.
The first call I made was to the man my family’s trusted with our weather forecast for as long as he has been on TV in Toledo, 13abc’s Stan Stachak. Stan has been supplying a weather forecast for 32 years, meaning I was 5 when he debuted. He has seen it all — the drought of 1988, the flooding of 1992, various mini-blizzards and tornadoes. The only thing missing from the Biblical Rapture prediction are the locusts, but we did have mayflies. I prodded Stan about the accuracy of the “Farmer’s Almanac” and he was skeptical of its “secret formula,” which was devised in 1792.
“The ‘Farmer’s Almanac’ predictions are often uncouched, unsettled generalities,” Stachak said. He said he has been asked numerous times lately “what was going to happen next weather-wise,” from people concerned about 150 degree summers or snow in May.
His response is, “Don’t panic.”
Here are the highlights from the various conversations.
- FOX Toledo’s Doug Moats: “Another hot and wet summer. The early warm weather could increase the yields, but lessen the flowering period. March 21 set a record high of 85 degrees for the day; it was also the warmest March day on record for Toledo, and we have records going back to 1873.”
- WTOL’s Robert Shiels: “This could continue through mid-May but I expect a cooler than normal rest of spring. I make it a policy not to make any long-term forecasts as far as summer is concerned.”
- NBC24’s Norm Van Ness: “My grandmother’s neighbor’s aunt said that when this happened in 1905 they had a blizzard in July, so I fully expect a foot of snow to fall by July 15,” he said, laughing. “Climatology says Mother Nature loves balance. It should be a pretty busy spring for extreme weather.”
- WTOL’s Chris Vickers: “There is very little connection between spring and summer weather. It always seems to balance itself out; look for a cool stretch at some point.”
- 13abc’s Jay Berschback: “I don’t know. I don’t believe in long-term forecasting, because of the Butterfly Effect: One small forecasting mistake often multiplies into bigger ones.”
- WTOL’s Ryan Wichman: “Why not enjoy this? Trade in some of the bad weather IOUs.”
The overall sentiment of Toledo’s weather community is to just stop thinking about the weather and simply enjoy it. Mother Nature is giving us this gift; why is it so difficult for us to accept it? I will gladly accept another gift from her on April 4, but I fully expect to see salt and snow trucks clearing a path for the Tigers buses from Detroit, because that’s Toledo!
Follow Jeremy Baumhower on Twitter @jeremytheproduc.
Tags: 13abc, AccuWeather, Chris Vickers, Detroit Tigers, Doug Moats, Dr. Suess, Farmer's Almanac, FOX Toledo, Jay Berschback, Jeremy Baumhower, NBC24, Norm Van Ness, Robert Shiels, Ryan Wichman, Stan Stachak, WTOL