Unseasonably cold temperatures and snow are expected weather conditions to look forward to this upcoming season in Maryland. Recognized news sources marked Dec. 1 as the start of the winter season and have already made predictions on what to expect. Sandi Duncan, the managing editor of the Farmer’s Almanac, predicts that the winter will look […]
Unseasonably cold temperatures and snow are expected weather conditions to look forward to this upcoming season in Maryland.
Recognized news sources marked Dec. 1 as the start of the winter season and have already made predictions on what to expect.
Sandi Duncan, the managing editor of the Farmer’s Almanac, predicts that the winter will look somewhat like a repeat of last year, at least in terms of temperature.
“We do think the temperature is going to take a dip and get cold, especially over the Atlantic Ocean border, which will include Maryland,” Duncan said. “Ultimately we don’t think it’s going to be quite as bad as last season, but we do pretty much sum up the winter season as snowy and unseasonably cold.”
Duncan believes the weather will neither be better or worse than last winter.
“We kind of think it’s going to be almost a déjà vu of last year, meaning that we do see a very cold season coming up, so it’s going to be very similar to last year,” Duncan said. “Now with this El Nino forming, it could certainly play havoc on the conditions.
“It could make for warmer temperatures, but we’re sticking by our predictions and the only thing I would say is if that happens, some of the precipitation may be more icy and rainy, rather than wet and cold.”
Duncan compared the weather in Maryland and the East Coast to the rest of the nation.
“It’s very interesting because the Farmer’s Almanac thought it would be very cold nationwide last year, but it was colder on the eastern portion of the nation than the western portion of the nation,” Duncan said. “I think the past couple of years, in the east coast especially, has been kind of snowy and last year it was very snowy but also very, very cold.”
Duncan said people who follow the Farmer’s Almanac say it is accurate 80 to 85 percent of the time.
Paulette Jones, the public information officer of the Department of Public Works and Transportation of Prince George’s County, said the department has already begun preparing for the upcoming winter season.
“We are pleased that up until this point we haven’t had any snowy or icy weather,” Jones said. “This time last year, we already mobilized a couple of times. We actually mobilized 18 snow and ice events last year. The year before that were 27. So, I don’t know how predictions are going to work out, but I am hoping we can just stay the course. I know it would be fun to know, but hopefully it won’t be too much of a snowy season.”
Jones said the department has been preparing for the snow season since October. The department did a dry run on Oct. 23 and deployed about 400 employees. The employees followed their assigned routes to familiarize themselves with the routes and carried out time runs.
“We prepare somewhat the same way every year,” Jones said. “We check the roadways and make sure we try to inspect any potholes that need to be addressed prior to the season or any hazardous debris or anything in the roadways.”
Jones wants to make sure the public takes into consideration certain precautions during the winter.
“We also continue to educate our public and remind them that during the inclement weather they should park on the even side of the street,” Jones said. “That really helps in case we have a narrow roadway and a plow needs to get down the road. If we have everyone parked on the same side of the street, our plows are clear to come down the street and clear the roads.”
The department asks that individuals do not park on the snow emergency routes and they should clear their driveways and mail boxes after plowing is complete. They also usually ask residents to wait 12 hours after the snow stops before calling to request snow and ice removal services.
The situational dashboard online can give people the idea of the temperature and the road ways at www.pgcdpwtdashboard.com.
Bennie Meeks, the owner and founder of the Firewood Factory in Bladensburg, is very positive about the weather.
“This time of the year becomes very good for me,” Meeks said.
Meeks thinks it is going to be a tough winter and has dedicated all of his time to preparing the firewood.
“In previous winters I have had good sales depending on the severity of the weather,” Meeks said.
Meeks started the Firewood Factory back in 1997 and provides firewood services to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. He also provides services to local pizza restaurants as well.
“We have worked throughout the spring, the summer, and the beginning of the fall in order to have this firewood and still serve our customers,” Meeks said.
Duncan believes the weather affects everything and sometimes thinks people forget how important the weather is, especially farmers or people who grow their own crops.
“If it’s a really cold winter, especially in an area that usually farms or gardens throughout the whole year, which could wreak havoc on groceries come next spring and summer,” Duncan said. “But for hardware stores, obviously if they sell things like salt or types of ice melt or snow blowers, it could be good for business. On the other side, if it’s really cold and really snowy, people don’t want to go out and go shopping because the roads aren’t very good.”
The Farmer’s Almanac has lot of tips and advice on how to stay warm during the winter season, as well as tips for cars in case citizens get caught in wintery weather out on the road.
“We go out on a limb and get predictions a year in advance,” Duncan said. “Ee’re really giving a long term look at what’s going to happen, and while we can’t guarantee our predictions, it does help people prepare for what may come this winter.”