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All along the watchtower we view the approaching winter as the wind begins to howl

Nov 14, 2017 • by Mike Zielinski, Host of The Mike Zielinski Show
Mike Zielinski

If you watch HBO’s monumental series Game of Thrones, you know that winter is coming. And it is not coming with a friendly smile on its face.

Fortunately, we do not live in imaginary Westeros. But we here in Berks County do live in the Northeast where, alas, winter also is coming.

As you may have deduced, I’m no fan of winter. My nature is more geyser than glacier.

If the temperature drops below 40, I feel like I’ve been transported to Siberia. I despise snow, which is fun only for kids, skiers, polar bears and snow leopards.

Therefore, I have a vested interest in how horrible the upcoming winter is going to be, so I have more time to brace myself if the news is wicked.

It’s a matter of self-preservation. I want to know if Old Man Winter this year will be packing a left hook that brings barbarity to my serenity. Once upon a time I was young, quick and nimble enough to duck a left hook. But too many harsh winters have broken down this lion in the winter of his life.

Granted, who really knows what our fate will be this year? Nobody, not even the weather forecasters. They and their weather models often disagree more than an old married couple.

Bob Dylan was right on when he wrote that you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

I read one forecast that because of an impact from La Niña, who apparently is a direct descendant of the weather gods, the Northeast is expected to get a warmer than usual winter.

Works for me.


Why is there always a but when we get a snippet of good news?

La Niña is a weather pattern that disrupts normal winters across North America. Typically, it causes the US to experience a wetter-than-usual winter across most of the top states and a drier-than-usual one across the bottom.

If your third-grade geography escapes you, Pennsylvania is one of the top states … at least until the next cataclysmic shifting of Earth’s tectonic plates.

La Niña is why some meteorologists are predicting an above-average snowfall will bury the Northeast. Which is why I now am checking out winter rentals in south Florida.

Another forecaster piled on, rather gleefully predicting an above-normal snow season for us poor unfortunates stranded in the Northeast.

These meteorologists aren’t envisioning a warmer than usual winter for us. Instead they forecast frosty winter weather for the Northeast, with January threatening to bring the coldest air of the season.

To prevent us Northeasters from reeling in shock over this devastating forecast, they benignly point out that the icicle-crusted temperatures here will pale in comparison to those in in the northern Plains where the mercury is set to dip to a brain-freezing minus 30 degrees at times.

Some consolation. By the way, anybody who willingly lives in the northern Plains has to be certifiably insane.

Of course, experts often issue the face-saving disclaimer that weather is always up in the air.

Which is why I’m looking to the heavens, praying for a miracle that we have a shockingly balmy winter stuck in a record drought until May 1.

In the meantime, I’m getting my snow blower serviced, buying two new shovels and purchasing enough road salt to blanket half the continent.

Unlike Napoleon and the German army, I’m not getting whipped by a Russian winter coming to Berks County. 

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