Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 21, 2013

Gary's World: What's going on with the weather?

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — For 24 years I have lived in Crossville and I've seen all sorts of weather in March and April. I can vividly remember one year the last week of March was beautiful, sunny with temperatures in the 70s. Then, on April Fool's Day we got two inches of snow! I went out and snapped pictures of daffodils and pansies peeking their faces out from snow covering. The contrast made for some beautiful pictures we ran on the front page.

I can also remember one December we had sun and temperatures in the 70s, but I have never seen anything like what happened here Wednesday evening.

It was cool on Wednesday with mostly sunny skies. Late in the afternoon it suddenly became cloudy and a dark cloud front was moving in from the west.

As I left the Chronicle around 4:45 it began to rain. Then, it suddenly turned to sleet and snow. That's not such a big deal, but the weird part is the temperature was 48 degrees!

That's just crazy!

I thought I was imagining it at first.

I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things and it was lightly drizzling. The wind was picking up and I looked at the sky and saw the strangest looking cloud formation. It was very dark and went high into the sky and the cloud formation almost looked vertical rather than horizontal.

I was in the store for about five minutes.

When I came out of the store I couldn't believe how hard it was snowing. It looked like a blizzard! It was blowing extremely hard and huge, wet snowflakes were falling and flying everywhere.

Again, the temperature is what threw me off — it was 42 degrees. I have never seen snow when it is that warm.

Now I'm no meteorologist, so I can't explain the phenomenon, but I know something crazy was going on.

Maybe Steve Norris can explain.

Anyone who lives on the Plateau or in Crossville for any length of time over a year will tell you, "If you don't like the weather now, just wait an hour and it will change."

This is a little more extreme, though.

I watch the signs of nature in fall for upcoming weather in the winter. One of the signs to watch for is the wooly worm.

This past fall the signals were so mixed. Some wooly worms were all black, meaning a bad winter, others were lighter, meaning mild winter and some were mixed. These worms typically start crawling in August and September. A couple years ago I saw some in June — which was extremely early.

But this is crazy — I saw a solid black wooly worm yesterday evening crossing the road during this heavy snow burst.

This, to me, just defies explanation. Not only that, but it's the second one I've seen. Just last week I saw an all black wooly worm and I chalked it up to be some random oddity. But with more than one sighting in a week's time? I'm really starting to wonder what's going on.

Maybe my friend Melinda Lane Hedgecoth, who writes her annual winter weather prediction based on the signs of nature, can explain.

Honestly, though, I have never seen anything like that before — blizzard like snow with temperatures in the 40s?

I know there's a whole host of global warming references that are going to be made about this weather situation.

Last month my sister in South Dakota was living it up with temps near the 60s and it was in the 30s here.

What in the world is going on? I'm hoping for a reasonable scientific explanation.