Edmonton

Wild and windy fall, means big winter snowfalls

Weather witch predictions for 2013-14 ski season

The "weather witch" Terry McHardy predicts a winter similar to last year's which means we could have another record snowfall in the mountains. 
Photo by Megan Arn

MEGAN ARN

ALBERTA BEACH - Terry McHardy has been predicting the changing of the seasons and what’s in store for skiers for years. It’s earned her the moniker “Weather Witch.”

We turn to the Alberta Beach resident each fall because she has the uncanny ability to predict the upcoming winter season. She comes by her talent naturally, she says, from being struck by lightening, not once, but twice, giving her a hypersensitivity to the weather. The avid storm watcher heads to the mountains every chance she gets and she says the further north she goes, the better she can get a read on her winter prediction.

Recently she returned from a trip to Lac La Biche, where there are sure signs of the coming season.

After talking to McHardy by phone, I am stoked for the upcoming ski season. She says the fall will be wild and windy and that we’ll continue to see the extreme temperatures in the days, from frost in the morning to warmer temperatures in the afternoon.

McHardy predicts another winter similar to last year. That means we may have another record snowfall coming our way. Though a bit tougher to predict than other years, McHardy is banking on an early winter that will come abruptly just before Halloween. She notes that fall seems a little drier than usual, but that the snow will be plentiful again this year. Observing that we’re seeing signs of some cold spells followed by warm snaps, also indicates fluctuating temperatures.  

Nature is McHardy’s crystal ball. She bases her predictions on moon cycles, animals, and the Cree calendar. Birds are one telltale sign and she sees they are flying north. That means they're still practicing their migration, but not making the move south just yet.

Also the large amount of pine cones on the trees is another indicator of the snowy days to come. If you ever need a compass to the weather she says look to the full moon.  Guaranteed, if you wait a few days after a full moon the weather will change.

McHardy’s predictions are not just word of mouth, she also makes a special “weather witch” calendar. I have been fortunate enough to receive one this year and it’s the first of many that she creates by hand.

McHardy already has the calendar filled up to spring 2014.
Photo by Megan Arn

McHardy is waiting in anticipation of the winter season with her four cats and they all stare at the sky watching the birds at Alberta Beach. Thank you Terry, for sharing your insights and gift of reading the weather with us.

Check out the 2013 opening dates for ski resorts in western Canada.

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