NOAA’s winter outlook for the South is all too familiar

In case you haven’t heard, NOAA — that’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, not that guy with the big boat — has issued its winter outlook for the United States. To sum it up for folks in these here parts, it’s likely to be warmer and drier than normal in Southern states due in large part to La Nina, which is another reason we gotta build that wall. I mean, we’re not against folks from Spanish-speaking countries, but no one ever blames climate problems on phenomenons like El Jimmy Bob or La Sally Ann. Just sayin’.

Now, keep in mind that NOAA ain’t nothing but a bunch of educated scientists with years of experience in a very specific field of study, so you can’t believe them to the same extent that you believe your Crazy Uncle Joe who seen on the Interwebs and heard on AM radio that the new infrastructure bill has an $800-a-head “cow fart tax” on each head of cattle that ranchers and farmers own in an effort to reduce methane emissions.

(It’s not true, of course — it’s actually zero-dollars-per-head. Although, there is a $100-per-fart tax on Joe Manchin, which even Kyrsten Sinema agrees likely will pay for everything on the Democrats’ huge wish list and then some.)

So, when it comes to what the weather will be this winter, I’ll make my own decisions and prognostications, thank you. I don’t need scientists telling me about the weather, how to prevent illnesses, how things can fly or that hamsters and microwaves don’t mix. Science is not gonna trump my freedoms!

DING!

Although, recent winters and falls — including this autumn, so far — don’t exactly give me a lot of hope that the scientists are wrong. And that’s a shame because I have a lot of memories from years ago that don’t make a lot of sense today.

I remember freezing to death on the swings at the county fair because my jacket wasn’t thick enough. Now, it seems every fall fair down South is a sweaty experience. Even the freak show performers like the Snake Lady sweats, and she’s a semi-cold-blooded, half-reptilian — much like a Kardashian.

Almost every memory I have of going to high school football games as a teenager involved wearing a hoodie or a coat or letterman’s jacket. Later, as a small-town sports writer, I spent many games freezing to death as I kept notes and stats in the stands after being told “No press in the press box!” more than once. I think they’re the same folks who’d later yell, “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!” Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think?

It’s been years since I’ve seen real snow. I was in Indianapolis one January for a conference, and when I stepped outside it was negative-5 degrees. My wife was with me, and her eyeballs froze in about four seconds. The blindness is one of the reasons she’s still with me.

“Honey, I wish you could see how good I still look now. Just get better with age!”

I used to love sitting around a fire and roasting marshmallows — well, igniting them, blowing them out and immediately putting that little black square in my mouth with that sweet, tasty, white lava incinerating the inside of my mouth. (“Mmm, dat weelly tase goo.”) Now, I have a really cool fire pit that entices my grandsons so that I can disappoint them over and over by saying, “Nah, it’s too hot for a fire.”

Make no mistake, though. At some point, it will get cold … for a moment. There might even be a snow flurry or two, causing folks in Possum Holler, Georgia to post on Facebook — or whatever it’s called soon — “What global warming?! Ha!” This is the country, after all, where a United States senator from Oklahoma once brought a snowball to the front of the chamber and held it up to disprove global warming. So, for any of you who think stupidity is new to the USA, au contraire mon frère!

This coming weekend is Halloween. When I was a kid, I wanted to make sure that my costume would be truly terrifying — like Woody Woodpecker — but also warm enough that I would not freeze to death while going around the block and begging for diabetes. As I got a little older, I hoped there would be enough adult beverages to keep us warm where we small-town teenagers partied — such as out in fields and in old, cold barns.

This weekend, though, I’ll be wearing a t-shirt featuring the gang from “Scooby-Doo” and maybe a pair of jeans instead of a Scooby costume (still too hot for that). If only we were as smart as Velma Dinkley, we might be able to solve the mystery of why these warm autumns and winters keep happening — and why other seasons are hotter than lava. Until then, there’s only one thing to say each time NOAA predicts the weather:

“Ruh-roh!”

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