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CINDY DAY: Thank you for weighing in on winter weather predictions

This nest was teetering high above the ground in Cumberland County, N.S., by Daren White.
This nest was teetering high above the ground in Cumberland County, N.S., by Daren White. - Contributed

November is winding down and by all accounts it has been wet, windy and cold. Everywhere I go people are talking about winter’s early arrival.

wasp nest
The crow had a bird's-eye view of the wasp nest that Hanna Nicholls spotted from the ground on her walk at Head of St. Margaret's Bay, N.S.

A couple of weeks ago, I published my predictions for the winter ahead. I don’t love forecasting the weather for a full season, but I did my best based on the satellite data, ocean temperatures, computer models, and experience - blessed experience, as they say.

Grandma didn’t have computer models, but she certainly did have lots of experience based on observation. She had more than one winter predictor under her belt, but the one that everyone is talking about is the height of the hornets’ nests. Grandma believed “the higher the nest, the higher the snow banks.” A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to let me know what you were observing in your area. Judging by the number of emails I’ve received, Grandma wasn’t the only one checking out hornets’ nests in the fall.

Many of you have been kind enough to submit your findings. It’s crucial to receive information on the nests from all across the region because, as you already know, our snowfall amounts vary considerably over fairly short distances.

It’s already quite white in Cumberland County and it could get worse. Darren White – real name – came across a nest very high off the ground.

Larry Archibald also noticed a nest in a maple tree on his property in Colchester County: it was perched at the very top of the tree. Yikes.

Hanna Nicholls spotted two nests very close to the tops of mature trees while on her walk along the Rails to Trails in Head of St. Margaret’s Bay, just outside of Halifax.

Tanya messaged to say she’s noticed the nests on the eastern end of P.E.I. are all close to the ground.

Donna Mullins lives in Reserve Mines on Cape Breton Island and she has four nests in her yard: two high and two low. Not quite sure what to make of that. Maybe Cape Breton will get lots of snow early on and very little snow towards spring?

I’m still waiting to hear from someone in Newfoundland and Labrador, but, after the snow you received late last week, maybe the nests are buried!

Still on the topic of winter forecasts, I received this letter from Ben:

“I read your column daily and I especially like the old tales about weather. Have you heard this one?

“If you check the date on the calendar (regardless of the month) of the first real snow storm, it will tell you exactly how many snow storms will arrive this winter. For example, if the first storm hits on Nov. 20, we will have 20 snow storms before spring. I heard that one years ago and it has proven correct almost every time.”

So if you’re curious about the winter ahead, you can read my forecast , choose one of the methods listed above, or just wait and see.


Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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