Daily Archives: September 5, 2009

New Zealnd to go through a miserably long cold 2010

Wet, cold forecast for 2010

Weather expert Ken Ring predicts next year’s winter to be a month longer than this year’s.

NZ Herald | Aug 30, 2009

By Rebecca Lewis

Take this as a weather warning – from summer through to the end of winter, 2010 is going to be a miserable year.

Ken Ring, a long-term forecaster with unorthodox methods but a surprisingly accurate track record, has predicted next year’s weather to be “disappointing”, with wet and cooler summer months, followed by a winter that lasts a month longer than this year, with record-breaking cold snaps.

The summer will be rainy, Canterbury could be as low as five degrees by February, and March and April could see the coldest months on record for half a century.

Christchurch can expect its heaviest snowfall since 1945, Wellington will face gale force winds, and thousands of shorn sheep in the Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu may die from the cold.

It’s also likely next year’s ski season will see the last decent powder for five years – although chances are it will run through until January 2011.

Ring’s methods of using the moon and tides to forecast well beyond the timelines of MetService or NIWA have raised eyebrows in the scientific community for years, but the Kiwi weather watcher has been largely on the mark in New Zealand and overseas.

In 2008, he predicted the Shotover River in Queenstown would freeze over in July and that we would experience colder than average winter months – both predictions rang true.

Even the Irish are applauding him for accurately predicting the country’s mini-heatwave in June and the wettest July on record, completely contradicting the UK Met Office which said it would be a “barbecue summer”.

His weather predictions are laid out in the latest Ken Ring’s Predict Weather Almanac 2010, to be released this Friday.

Ring’s working principle is that weather recycles just as tides do, and predicting the tides means he can logically forecast, based on the moon’s “gravitational forces” going through the air to get to the ocean.

His methods derive from studying the fishing calendar on the East Coast, where local Maori would use the tides and moon cycles to predict the weather. “It sounds complicated but it’s really just about the moon and the tides,” said Ring.

“Based on feedback I’d say my predictions are about 85 per cent accurate, and that’s feedback from my peers – farmers, fishermen and trampers – people that know the outdoors and how these cycles work.”

Despite a huge following, Weather Watch analyst Phil Duncan is sceptical about Ring’s theories, saying it is too difficult to predict weather more than a month out.

He admits there is a science behind Ring’s methods, and agrees that summer could be cooler than average.

“We’re seeing the makings of an El Nino on the way, which is not confirmed yet, and it could mean Auckland could be cooler and places like Waikato and Wellington will have stronger westerlies,” he said.

“I’m a big believer in short-term forecasting, but I wouldn’t do anything more than a month out. I don’t think anyone can predict what can happen in a year’s time.”

MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said he would not comment on anyone else’s theories, but could say MetService – which conducts its seasonal outlook with the help of Niwa – has recorded sea surface temperatures that predict El Nino weather patterns. “These temperatures can change from month to month, so I couldn’t comment on anything more than that,” he said.

Farmer’s Almanac predicts below average temperatures for this winter

2010_us_wintermap

Frigid 2010 Forecast: How Cold will the Winter Weather Be?

Farmers Almanac | Sep 5, 2009

Old Man Winter doesn’t want to give up his frigid hold just yet, but his hold will mostly be in the middle of the country.

According to the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac, this winter will see more days of shivery conditions: a winter during which temperatures will average below normal for about three-quarters of the nation.

A large area of numbingly cold temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to west of the Appalachians (see map). The coldest temperatures will be over the northern Great Lakes and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But acting almost like the bread of a sandwich, to this swath of unseasonable cold will be two regions with temperatures that will average closer to normal—theWest Coast and the East Coast.

What about snow/rain/ice?

Near-normal amounts of precipitation are expected over the eastern third of the country, as well as over the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains, while drier-than-normal conditions are forecast to occur over the Southwest and the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes.

Only the Central and Southern Plains are expected to receive above-average amounts of precipitation.

Blizzards?

While three-quarters of the country is predicted to see near- or below average precipitation this winter, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any winter storms! On the contrary, significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone. For the Middle Atlantic and Northeast States, for instance, we are predicting a major snowfall in mid-February; possibly even blizzard conditions for New England (indeed, even shovelry is not dead).

Afghan villagers bury their dead as Taliban watch

afghan burial nato airstrike 9-09
Afghan villagers pray over the graves of their relatives, who died in Friday’s air strike, near their village of Yaqoubi in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz September 5, 2009. REUTERS/Wahdat

Red Cross said it was close to impossible to assess the death toll because many bodies were believed to have been incinerated.

Reuters | Sep 5, 2009

By Mohammad Hamed

YAQOUBI, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Faces wrapped with black scarves and AK-47s slung across their shoulders, Taliban fighters looked on sternly as villagers buried their dead from this week’s NATO air strike in northern Afghanistan.

Weeping and reciting prayers, villagers knelt in front of about 50 graves dug outside Yaqoubi, a scattering of mud-brick huts near the site where Afghan officials say a NATO bombing killed scores of people, many of them civilians.

They paid little attention to groups of Taliban men who watched the funeral service from afar.

The fighters’ presence underlined the Taliban’s tightening grip in once-quiet parts of northern Afghanistan at a time when U.S.-led forces are battling to contain an increasingly aggressive insurgency mainly centred in the south and east.

“We will take revenge. A lot of innocent people were killed here,” one of the Taliban fighters, only his eyes left uncovered by a thick scarf, said at the funeral.

In an incident that has fuelled anger among local villagers, U.S. fighter jets called in by German troops struck a pair of fuel trucks hijacked by the Taliban on Friday.

Locals say bombs hit the area when 200 people from five nearby villages had gathered to siphon off the fuel which they thought had been abandoned by the Taliban.

“Every family around here has victims,” said Sahar Gul, a 54-year-old village elder from Yaqoubi. “There are entire families that have been destroyed.”

As a white funeral flag flapped in the dusty wind, Amidullah, a boy of 13, wept as he stared at the sandy grave of his father.

“I am the only survivor in the family,” he said. “My father was martyred, my brother was martyred, my uncle was martyred and two of my cousins were martyred.”

Village elders said 50 people were buried in Yaqoubi and 70 more in nearby villages, although the precise death toll may never be known.

An official with the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was close to impossible to assess the death toll because many bodies were believed to have been incinerated.

People who travelled to the memorial service on Saturday from the regional centre of Kunduz said the Taliban had set up road blocks and searched many cars in a gesture of defiance.

Kunduz province Governor Mohammad Omar blamed the villagers for allowing the Taliban to operate in their area.

“Villagers paid a price for helping and sheltering the insurgents,” he told Reuters.

Villagers interviewed by Reuters said the Taliban were not welcome. They lamented the fighters’ presence but were powerless to keep them away.

“We are ordinary people,” said one villager. “We are not Taliban.”