After an accurate forecast last year, pig spleen forecaster Jeff Woodward is calling for a 2013 boasting much more precipitation than normal in his fourth annual six month weather forecast.
Woodward's forecast released earlier today is for an approximate 300 kilometre radius of Tompkins, with the forecast based on several spleens from the Ear View Hutterite Colony south of Gull Lake, and a few spleens from Don Friesen from Waldheim.
Woodward is the nephew of the late Gus Wickstrom, who had pushed pig-spleen weather predicting into the spotlight with his personable approach to the Scandinavian tradition.
Woodward's forecast in the Southwest calls for the winter of 2013 to have much more precipitation than normal, with general snow and the possibility or tendency towards rains and freezing rains. The trends will be similar for Waldheim, although there will be less significant precipitation than southwest Saskatchewan.
"Although the winter is starting out cold, this will change in early January with much more erratic warm and cold than we have seen so far. The snow accumulation will be significant and it is a good year to have a snow mobile. Precipitation tend towards rain and freezing rain instead of regular snowfalls. For the Cypress Hills area, the opportunity for seeding will be a early and a break in precipitation in May will provide an opportunity to get the seed in the ground and take advantage of the rain at the end of June.
"There are two anomalies in the spleen that cover the March 16-23 and April 10-15 that are difficult to predict. These dates will be significant."
His full forecast is as follows:
The general tendency from January 1 to February 21 is for snow and rain. There will be rain and snow on Jan. 2 and Jan. 15 followed by colder weather and snow again on Jan. 20. The start of the month from Jan. 1 to 16 will be mild, however the New Moon on Jan. 11 will be colder than normal. The conditions following will be abnormal with lots of cloud and overcast and light snow particularly early in the morning towards the end of the month. After Jan 20, Jan 27-28 is likely to have snow, and between Jan. 20 and Jan. 31 there will be general light snow on several days which will accumulate. Highway conditions for the entire month will generally be poor with frost and slippery conditions particularly in the mornings. The rain and freezing rain will make these days particularly treacherous.
The start of the month will be be a continuation of January, generally mild, overcast and moist which will culminate with a snow event on Feb. 15. The groundhog will likely see his shadow, however this will not be a good indicator of the winter in this area. Colder weather will set in towards the end of the month starting on Feb. 21. Precipitation will stop at the end of the month.
The beginning of March will be clear and sunny and a return to warmer weather. Early snowmelt will cause much of the snow to consolidate and some runoff will result. An anomaly in the spleen on Mar. 16 to 23 will signify a significant change in the weather (around St. Patricks Day) which will probably be a late storm that will taper off towards the end of the month. The conditions will gradually dissipate and easter will be a mix of sun and cloud but should be warm.
Mixed conditions will be maintained at the start of April. Another significant event will occur between April 10 and April 15 which I am interpreting as abnormally warm and windy weather for the area. This should be the time that the land dries significantly making conditions right for seeding. Following April 15, there are no significant precipitation events in April.
May will see some light rains however nothing significant for the entire month. There is very little information in the spleen for this month, only that light precipitation will build into June.
June will start off normal and will turn wet towards the end. Starting around June 10, there will be some precipitation and colder than normal temperatures peaking around June 18. June 19 will be rain free however after a small window of nice weather, the rain will return until June 25 when it will stop until the end of the month.
The weather in the Southwest will be atypical of the rest of the province where the drier than normal conditions will prevail particularly in the Northwest.
Woodward notes that this year's spleens had a lot of fatty deposits and were relatively consistent in appearance. He also noted that the spleen from Waldheim did not have the same anomalies as the Ear View Spleens. There was, however, an anomaly that should occur around January 10 where this portion of the spleen had a ring of fat on the front of the spleen, meaning there is not a strong delineation between temperature and precipitation.