HOUSTON -- Do you know anybody who owns a snow shovel or a pair of water proof pants? You may need 'em if the Farmer's Almanac has anything to say about it. The half-baked prognostication promises a snowy winter for north Texas and a wet and cold winter here in Houston.
It was a miserably warm winter last year for Houston. In fact, it was the warmest winter on record by a substantial amount. Nine record highs were set, all of which were 80° or greater, for the months of December, January and February; meteorological winter.
This year conditions are already different. We've gone eight days in a row in early September without seeing a high of 90 degrees at Bush-Intercontinental. Our average high this time of year is 91°.
It gets better still. We've seen widespread 50s, mainly north of I-10 for several nights which is two to three weeks earlier than average.
While its too early to know if the early fronts of 2017 are a sign of things to come, it only stands to reason that this winter will most definitely be a colder one than what we dealt with last year.
There have been 35 measurable snowfalls in Houston since the blizzard of 1895 that dropped a jaw-dropping 20+ inches of snow in Houston with some estimates as high as 32 inches near Beaumont. That averages out to a measurable snow event about every 4 years.
It's been seven years since the last measurable snow in Houston. Remember that it has to snow at Bush-Intercontinental Airport or it doesn't count. IAH is the official recording site for the city of Houston.
It's reasonable to assume that we're overdue for a snow event here in southeast Texas. So here's to hoping!
I realize that the Farmer's Almanac doesn't actually call for snow IN Houston or southeast Texas but the arbitrary line isn't too far to our north. After all, what do these people in Dublin, New Hampshire really know about weather anyway?
According to their website, they were founded in 1792 and is North America's oldest continuously published periodical.
The founder of the almanac, Robert B. Thomas said, "our main endeavor is to be useful, but with a pleasant degree of humor."
Thomas has the humor part right. Granted it does snow in Texas, and in some parts to an appreciable depth that would silence the guffaws of Buffalo to a more cynical giggle.
The Almanac is nothing more than a hope and a dream with no sound science to its forecasts. For those who want Old Man Winter to pay a visit to the region like he did on Christmas Eve 2004, the odds are pretty well stacked against us that it likely won't happen this year. Then again, it just might.