The Southwest Booster
Pig spleen forecast calls for cooler and wetter than normal spring
Jeff Woodward, Pig Spleen Prognosticator released his annual weather outlook on Groundhog Day, with the potential of a cooler and wetter than normal spring ahead followed by a normal early summer.
Woodward has been carrying on the tradition of his late uncle Gus Wickstrom, who had gained North America wide recognition for his forecasts. Wickstrom appeared on The Daily Show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, along with conducting numerous other televised and printed interviews.
According to this unique long-held European tradition, farmers would harvest their pigs in the fall, and they would look at the spleen with the belief that the pig had some ability to prepare for the kind of winter it was going to be. Both his grandfather and uncle Gus started making the predictions, in a light hearted way.
Woodward’s prognostication for 2023 is based on several spleens from the Cobler Farm near Gull Lake, and also spleens from the Earview Hutterite Colony. Over the past few years, theses spleens have proven to be valuable specimens for weather predictions and the spleen donations are greatly appreciated.
The preliminary prognostication was held on December 16 in Moose Jaw with friends and family members in attendance. In order to maintain tradition and ensure accuracy, several toasts of Aquavit in the traditional Scandinavian fashion were made.
Woodward explains that in order to do a prediction, the spleen is divided into six equal portions representing January through June.
“The premise is that a Pig Spleen has innate sense of what the upcoming winter will be like, and a skilled prognosticator can look at the spleen of a mature pig, and determine what the pig is preparing for, between January through June,” he stated in his prognostication released on Facebook. “Any forecast outside of this timeframe is not possible and any charlatans that claim otherwise are therefore breaking the guidelines.”
“There is fat on the spleen, that when interpreted correctly will reveal the temperature and the weather expectations for the upcoming months. Any abnormalities in the spleen, like bumps or scars, signify either cold weather, or a significant event happening at that time. This year the spleens contained a great deal of fat - much more than average.”
The large amount of fat on the spleen this year indicates that the weather will be highly variable. The pig was preparing for big swings in temperature, and a larger than average amount of precipitation, that would take a high toll on its metabolism.
In addition, there did not appear to be any significant abnormalities that would indicate noteworthy events.
2023 Pig Spleen Prognostication OVERALL
The winter this year will start out very cold, but quickly transition
into a warmer than normal trend until the end of January this cold will last into the start of February when it will once again return to warmer than normal temperatures.
February will continue to see highly variable conditions and a reversal of conditions or a snow event around February 10.
The peak of the winter will be towards the
end of February where conditions will start the warming trend.
March will continue to see warmer conditions until mid month, when it will cool off again with one small warmer period around March 19.
April will remain cool until the 10th or so, and then warming will begin in earnest.
May will against see the trend continue but be on the cool side and June will see some warming, but be cool in general.
January is a ramp month where we get right into winter with some real cold weather following a miserable December the cold weather will quickly dissipate and it will be mild through most of the month but and again with cold weather. Although our TV weather forecasters will say that it is alarmingly cold, and that the polar vortex threatens our very existence; the cold weather is really what we normally experience in this part of the world at this time of year. The variability in the temperatures will see some unusual rains in the month and some very wet snow.
While we will receive a lot of snow in some parts of the province, the Southwest will see the snow quickly, melt and be sucked up by the very dry soils and blown away by the wind.
February will start off cold like the end of January, but this, too, will come to an end early in the month. There is a strange reversal that will happen after the first week or 10 days, that could return us to cold temperatures for a short time, but this will be followed by average to above average temperatures, during the month.
The peak of the winter will happen near February 25 when we will see the end of the longterm cold and move towards a general trend for warming into the spring. While there will be snow and rain events scattered throughout January and February bringing lots of snow, there are no really significant events or exceptional storms.
March will trend again towards warm weather until March 12 when it will become colder than normal and this will be typical of the spring conditions, cooler and wetter than normal. Again note that in the Southwest part of the province around Maple Creek and Tompkins the average precipitation and damp conditions will be soaked up by really dry soil. A lot of water is needed to turn the exceptionally dry conditions around in that area, but the spring conditions will help. Watch for a significant snow and rain event on March 15 that will also bring some exceptional winds.
April will be similar to March until around April 12 when it will cool off again. This will be abrupt and persist with a gradual warming trend over the last week. April 8, 9 and 10th will see significant precipitation.
After the cool April, May will see average temperatures and general warming that we are used to in this province.
There will be a lot of wind during the month and precipitation events are centred around May 10, which should be bigger than normal. This will provide much needed moisture for seated crops and provide good soil, moisture for crops seeded after this date.
June will be a cool month in general with gradual warming towards normal over the last week of the month.
June 3 and June 20 are rain days.