After a couple weeks of unseasonably cold dry weather, temperatures have warmed. When I stepped out to walk to work this morning, it was 47 degrees. The permafrost has turned to squishy mud, and a slick film of water rests on top of ice patches. Very slippery. There is not enough snow for winter recreation. Many forest roads are still drivable. I remember previous winters when I was gleefully skiing in powder snow by mid-December. Nonetheless, people are trying. The snow ranger crew has observed snowmobilers, sledders, snowshoers and cross country skiers stomping and sliding on the little bit of crusty snow that remains. Many folks have hunted for and found their Christmas tree. And I have never seen so many snowmen out in the woods, all smiling cheerfully even though their eyes and buttons fall off.
I find myself checking the weather forecast both morning and evening, and have delved deeper into the internet to read about climate science. This is a neutral year for El Nino/La Nina, so it’s very difficult to predict what sort of winter is in store for the Pacific Northwest. There is also something about the Arctic Oscillation that I don’t fully grasp. All I know is that there is no snow in the forecast, very little snow up in the hills, and those facts are a bit unsettling. Who knows? Maybe the jetstream will shift and winter will descend with a wallop.
To quote my gramma (who was full of such wisdom): “The weather we get is the weather we got, we’re gonna have weather whether or not.”