By Bill Biddle

Autumn came early to the Methow as forecast in the August Weatherwatch. The “noticeable cool down during the fourth and final week” occurred with temperatures in the mid 30s on the last Friday in August. September will get colder faster than normal. Near the equinox days on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, a blast of winter will descend from the hills with early snow above 3,500 feet. The equinoctial storms will live up to their hype given to them by ancient mariners.

But pause during this early winter blast and remember that Indian summer, according to ancient lore, only comes after the first snowfall. Our Indian summer will be some balmy days in October that will be discussed by Weatherwatch in that month’s column.

But speaking of winter, Weatherwatch will go out on a limb and make a few brief comments about the coming winter in the Northwest. Be prepared! Cliff Mass on his weekly weather program on KUOW in Seattle forecast more snow than usual on the west side because of a developing La Niña. He suggested that snowplows could be active in the Seattle area off and on throughout the winter if the ocean continues its La Niña development. This bodes well for snow in the Methow throughout the winter, but also the probability of more rain mixed in with the snow. This will be discussed in the October column along with how early the snow will cover the valley floor in October.

Weatherwatch will go out on another limb and comment briefly on an extraordinary book published in 2007 that has largely gone unnoticed by the general public. Your Weatherwatch reporter read a column last week in the New York Times entitled “The Sun Also Surprises” by Lawrence E. Joseph. This column suggested that sunspots and other sun abnormalities could in the near future cause major problems for the earth, problems from calamitous weather events to serious disruptions in radio, telephone and computer communications. It is a startling statement.

Joseph is also the author of a 2007 book that suggests a worldwide calamity in 2012 that is apocalyptic. Its title – Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into Civilization’s End – is enough to shake up a person’s thinking. One of its premises is that the Mayan ancients believed that 12/21/12 would “bring both catastrophe and revelation.” The book supports this premise with a variety of scientific investigations, one of which discusses the probability of the supervolcano at Yellowstone blowing its top in the near future.

Weatherwatch in no way endorses this book. However, it is one of a growing body of books that are tackling the causes of such calamities as the floods in Pakistan. Such books will be occasionally discussed in the future.

But our weather future is September 2010. Rain and cold will reign for the first week or so, with a warm up over the second weekend. More cold will follow, with major rain and snow during the equinox. But, lo, the first Indian summer will descend, and Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) will bring us through with the opening stanzas of her poem “The Parting of Summer”:


Thou’rt bearing hence thy roses,
Glad Summer, fare thee well!
Thou’rt singing thy last melodies
In every wood and dell.

But ere the golden sunset
Of thy latest lingering day,
Oh! Tell me, o’er this chequer’d earth,
How hast thou pass’d away?


Summer will have passed away – and October with a second Indian Summer?

Stay tuned!