I usually wait until February to complain about cold weather. But it’s late January—the 27th as I write this—and I’m in Oklahoma and it’s 26 degrees. Yesterday I enjoyed a balmy 71. Saturday was nice, too, as was Friday and so was the preceding weekend.
Sandwiched between those spring-like weekends were several days of bitter cold; temperatures dropped into the mid-teens a time or two and the wind made it seem much, much colder. But I should be thankful; at least I’ve been spared the devastating ice and snow that has blasted much of the country to the north, and I understand the Southeast is battening down today for what they expect to be as much as a half-foot of snow or sleet over the next few days.
We’ve had yo yo weather since November, unseasonably warm days followed suddenly by bitter cold. And we’ve had some frozen precipitation—a sleet and ice storm just before Christmas that left ice hanging around for most of a week.
I missed a cold snap in early January while I was in New Orleans attending the Beltwide Cotton
Conferences. It got cold in the Big Easy but not as bad as it was back home and I was inside most of the time anyway.
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Last week, following a nice warm Monday, I visited some farms in Northeast Texas and had to bundle up every time I left the truck to take a photo or meet a farmer in a nice warm coffee shop. It was a bit too sudden.
I can’t get a feel for this winter. It’s one of those fair and foul seasons where you never know if you should pack tee shirts or long johns; I take several pair of each. So I went to the source of weather knowledge to come to grips with this strange weather cycle. No, not the Weather Channel, or NOAA—the source, The Old Farmer’s Almanac (OFA).
Based on the OFA predictions for Texas and Oklahoma, January was supposed to be 7 degrees warmer than usual. That might be true, given all those 70-degree days we had. But when it turned cold it turned really cold.
OFA did predict we would have sunny, cold, then mild temperatures. I’ll give it a thumbs up on that prediction, too.
But we were supposed to receive 1 inch more precipitation than usual and I don’t remember even 1 inch of anything falling.
February temperatures will average 48 degrees, 2 degrees below average. I am not pleased with this prediction. Precipitation will total 3.5 inches, 1.5 inches more than usual. I think we’re going to need that. The northern part of the region will have rain and wet snow with heavy rain to the south.
March will be about 3 degrees warmer than usual and precipitation will be a half-inch below normal.
April will warm up to 67.5 degrees on average, 1.5 degrees warmer than usual, with 4 inches of precipitation predicted, 2 inches above average to the north and just about on par to the south.
May and June forecasts call for less rain than usual, sadly.
So it’s shaping up to be a typical Southwest year. Sometimes warm when it shouldn’t be; sometimes colder than it ought to be; not as much rain as we’d like to see; and more variability than I can keep up with.
And as they say, everybody complains about the weather but no one ever does anything about it. Well at least you’re now informed. Plan accordingly.