The Beauty of Weather Forecasts

I’m sharing this meme a friend sent me because when I saw it I thought of the schtick I always did when playing Nona at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. Nona was always looking for her marbles, going thought the audience asking if anyone had seen them.

Okay, I was going to write a blog post today. Honest. Then I discovered that all my book published by Next Chapter Publishing are no longer available on Amazon as e-books. It isn’t good to have a bunch of broken links on one’s website, and fixing that problem wasn’t on my list of things to do today. Sigh…

Thank goodness, I can always rely on Slim Randles to provide some fun entertainment while I’m otherwise occupied. Reading this particular offering, I had to chuckle, thinking about all the times people have said, “If you want to know what the weather is like, step outside.”

Read on and enjoy…

That certain … crispness? … in the air reminds me of one of my favorite story assignments over the past thousand years or so. I was a reporter/columnist/feature writer for The Anchorage Daily News, and since I had a tolerance for eccentricities in others … well, they called me the weirdo reporter.

One of the annual tasks that dropped in my lap was doing a story on what kind of a winter it was going to be. And I did this story each August, you see. So will the coming winter be nasty cold, very mild, deep snow, no snow … that sort of thing.

Writing that story was fun. I’d call up old sourdoughs who’d give me some estimate and then tell me some weird reason why they thought so. You know, the bird calls changed from the key of C to G sharp, that kind of thing. Then I’d call up some Native villages and get expert opinions from the old guys there. Fun story.

Well, this one year I thought, hey … we have a division of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration right here in Anchorage, and they have satellites and computers and all kindsa neat stuff. I’ll ask them.

So, I called NOAA and asked, “What kind of a winter are we in for?”

And the guy said, “We really can’t predict beyond maybe a week at the most.”

So I said, “Look, you have all those neat toys over there … why can’t you figure it out?”

He said, “Well, Slim, let me see what I can put together, and I’ll call you tomorrow. Okay?”

Now we’d get some really educated information for the readers. I couldn’t wait.

The next day, he calls and says his best guess is we’ll have a colder than usual winter. Super. And how did he arrive at that conclusion?

He hemmed and hawed, then said, “Well, the beavers are building their lodges in deeper water this year, so we should expect thicker than normal ice.”

Once again science triumphs over the tundra.


Brought to you by Dogsled: A True Tale of the North, Slim’s first book. Available on


Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.

2 thoughts on “The Beauty of Weather Forecasts”

    1. Glad you liked the post, Jan. I’m sure you’re very concerned about the possibility of a harsh winter. It’s so much harsher up in your neck of the woods.

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