Fall has arrived and we turn our attention to the coming fall and winter weather seasons. Do you believe in what our area critters or the environment around us is telling us about what the winter may have in store?

There are many theories about what are animals tell us or our environmental conditions offer regarding what kind of winter we may have. Some call these theories – myths – and some go back hundreds of years. Let’s take a look at some of these that apply to our area.

There are a number of winter weather forecasts based upon animals. Squirrels are one. For instance, if squirrels are more active in the fall, it is going to be a tough winter. A poem goes – Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry, will cause snow to gather in hurry.

Then there are the woolly caterpillars – the thicker the hair, the harsher the winter.

What about ducks and geese? We have plenty of them around here. The theory is, if they head south early, it is going to be a tough winter.

If the hair on the nape of a cow’s neck or a raccoon’s tail is thick, look out for a harsh winter.

Oh and here is one quite common around here – mice and spiders. Mice chewing furiously to get inside your home or spiders spinning larger webs are signs of a tough winter ahead.

For those who grow corn or onions, if the husks or skins are thicker, that points to a harsh winter ahead.

What do the professionals say about the coming winter? La Nina is on tap for this winter season. La Nina occurs when the sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific Ocean tropical waters – the waters west of Peru – are cooler than average, and the waters in Western Pacific are warmer than normal. All this translates into an adjustment of the Northern Pacific storm track to spend more time at our latitude, bringing us more weather systems. During La Nina, we tend to be cooler and wetter than average, and our mountain snowpack is usually healthy – good news for skiers!

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center’s latest seasonal outlook supports a wetter than normal fall and winter. Temperature wise, they tip the odds toward a warmer than average fall and then cooler than normal winter – quite La Nina like.

When compared to El Nino and Neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, La Nina is ranked #2 for strong wind storms and major flooding events, and #1 for lowland snow events. Given the way this wacky year has gone, we may get one or more of these storms this fall and winter season, and now is the time prepare.

Okay, now you’re asking, what about the Farmer’s Almanac? For an overall seasonal outlook, it agrees with a cooler and wetter fall and winter season in our area.

Do you have other animal and environment indicators for what the coming winter may offer, and wish to share?  Send us your input via our Contact Us link at everettpost.com or post it at our EverettPost Facebook site. Stay safe and healthy!

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.