Amy Roberts: Ski North Dakota |

Amy Roberts: Ski North Dakota

While the forecast might suggest otherwise, fall is (allegedly) not too far away. Normally by the first week of September, we’ve seen a few frosts, even a dusting of snow on the mountaintops. This year, though, we’ve been granted an extended summer. It started early by our standards. I planted tomatoes in May and never once had to hurriedly cover them with an old sheet, something I normally have to do multiple times between the day I plant and the day I know I actually ought to plant. The summer of 2021 should have been — would have been — a bumper crop, if not for a family of thieving squirrels that decided to squat in my spruce trees. Instead of taking one or two tomatoes at a time, they seem to have taste tested each one individually, leaving me with a bounty of nibbled-on fruit. I had fewer salads and salsas than I’d hoped for, but on the plus side, it’s likely I am now the country’s foremost expert on squirrel dental impressions.

Park Record columnist Amy Roberts.

This summer hasn’t just been extra long, it’s been extra hot. And dry. So much so that for the first time in the many years I’ve lived here, ceiling fans and open windows just didn’t cut it. And now working from home indefinitely means I’m not escaping the heat of the day in an office that’s so cold I need to wear a puffy coat indoors. Before this summer, the idea of installing central air conditioning had never crossed my mind. But it’s happening this week. Just in time for everything to start cooling down. It wasn’t until July that I gave in and started calling around for bids. But between supply chain issues and an employee shortage, I couldn’t get on a schedule until September. At the time I made the appointment, I figured a September installation meant I wouldn’t actually turn on my new AC for another 10 months. But at this rate, it might still come in handy before the snow arrives. Or, before it hopefully arrives.

The Farmers’ Almanac doesn’t look too promising in that department. The annual periodical has essentially predicted an extra cold and extra dry winter for Utah, with below-normal temperatures and snowfall. According to the Almanac, there will, however, be considerable snowfall a few states northeast of us. If accurate, the skiing in North Dakota will be great. Vail Resorts just needs to add a few hills to the state and it could sell another million Epic passes.

This year’s Almanac predicts the coming winter to be the “Season of Shivers.” In a press release promoting the 230th edition, editors claimed “positively bone-chilling, below-average temperatures” can be expected across most of the country and said this winter “could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years.”

The Almanac’s top-secret formula bases its long-range weather forecasts on a variety of factors and new technology including sunspots, prevailing weather patterns, planet positions and atmospheric changes. The exact formula has only been revealed to seven people in the last 200 plus years, and currently, only one human in the world knows the mathematical and astronomical formula — Caleb Weatherbee — the pseudonym given to The Farmers’ Almanac “weather prognosticator.”

Despite having top-secret clearance and access to such classified information, Caleb humbly admits the periodical isn’t perfect. A footnote in the latest edition states, “Although neither we nor any other forecasters have as yet gained sufficient insight into the mysteries of the universe to predict the weather with total accuracy, our results are almost always very close to our traditional claim of 80%.”

Despite that rather impressive percentage, most meteorologists have as much confidence in The Farmers’ Almanac predictions as they do in those of Punxsutawney Phil, who I wouldn’t trust with my tomatoes either.

Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.

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