Crozet Weather Almanac: October 2018

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October 2018 Weather data courtesy Roscoe Shaw and Heidi Sonen.

Small Town Crozet

Crozet is still a small town. We have been here a long time and are lucky to know many friendly people. Because we live too close to the grocery store, we don’t plan very well and make many trips for supplies. What does this have to do with weather? People talk about weather a lot in the grocery store! Sometimes people engage in salacious gossip or talk football, but mostly they just talk weather.

So the Great Valu is a great barometer for what the big weather concern is at the moment. Seemingly everyone asks Heidi or me about the latest weather and if they don’t, then we evesdrop to get the buzz. Sometimes, they even ask our daughter, but she just says “I’m not a weather geek like my parents.”

This time of year, the number one concern by far is “Are we going to have a snowy winter?”. We generally reply by saying those three words that people should say more often. No, not “I love you.”  I’ve never told anyone I loved them in a grocery store. We tell people “I don’t know.”

Is “I don’t know” three words or four?

But it is true. We don’t know. Wooly worms are cute but don’t know squat about snowfall. Groundhogs can break your tractor axle but are clueless about weather. The Farmer’s Almanac, despite ardent defenders, has a scientific skill in these parts very close to zero. Ditto for the National Weather Service. Squirrels have the same skill as most meteorologists. None!

The problem is that snowfall in Virginia is a quasi-random event. If everything comes together just right then boom!, two feet of snow can fall overnight. But a cold wet winter can produce very little snow and a warm, dry one can generate above average snowfall. The snowiest winter ever here was actually warmer than normal.

One thing is certain, however. Nearly everybody thinks it snowed more in the good-old-days when they were young. But, amazingly, people had rulers way back when and actually measured the snowfall and wrote it down. There is no noticeable trend in snowfall. The 1960s were the snowiest decade but the 1990s did quite well, too. The last ten years have produced 199 inches of snow which is a healthy, above average amount.

So, if you want to annoy us next time you see us at the IGA, just ask “Why doesn’t it ever snow like it used to?”

October Recap

October was a split month. The first 11 days were very warm, humid and wet. The temperature averaged an amazing 12 degrees above normal and the excessive rain that has marked this year continued. The remnants of hurricane Micheal dumped 2.42” of rain on us on October 11.

But the final three weeks of the month were cold with several early frosts and a couple of snows in the high mountains west of here.

We finished the month with nearly five inches of rain and now have almost 60” for the year. Parts of our farm that were solid ground for years are now swampland. Any tractor or lawnmower or other mechanized vehicle that attempts to cross these areas will get swallowed.

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