Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Groundhog vs El Niño By Rula Sinara & Catherine Lanigan

Happy Groundhog’s Day everyone! Or is it? You have to admit that poor Punxsutawney Phil has his work cut out this year. In the past, all he had to do was pop out of his burrow, and either see his shadow (for a prediction of 6 more weeks of winter) or not see his shadow (for an early spring). But this year, the cute little guy is up against not-so-cute El Niño. Since El Niño literally means ‘the child’, I can’t help but picture two kids on a playground, with one being a bully. Sorry Mother Nature, but you have to admit we’ve had a lot of weather pranks this season.
Low visibility when Blizzard Jonas first hit Rula's backyard
Blizzard Jonas early on (during daylight). It got worse.
In general, El Niño events tend to cause warmer than average temps early in the winter season, followed by wetter/cooler weather later on. Beyond that trend, things can get unpredictable…including wacky weather such as blizzards. We were getting such unusually warm temps, I was starting to think we'd never see snow this year.
Yeah. Um. I was wrong. And I had to dig several times through all that snow to get to the chicken coop!
Rula's flock after the storm
I live in what the weather guy refers to as the mid-Atlantic region and we got a pretty good dose of snow with the recent Blizzard Jonas. In fact, schools were off Jan 22nd when the snow began and just reopened yesterday with a 2 hr delay! Some roads are still hard to navigate because of mountains of plowed snow and narrow passage. We got 3ft plus deeper drifts at my place and digging provided ample exercise opportunities.
 
That's a 4ft fence under all that snow!
Rula's backyard post Blizzard Jonas
You can see a few more of my Blizzard Jonas pics and my experience here.

And now, it looks like El Niño is gifting the U.S. with more blizzard conditions in the Midwest as winter storm Kayla comes through this week. Catherine is all ready for her predicted foot of snow. I don't know...we got a lot more than predicted with this last blizzard. Hunker down, Catherine! Is it the two of us or do all writers and readers love the coziness snowy weather provides? Nothing like relaxing in front of a roaring fireplace with a good book (especially if it’s a Heartwarming ;)!

Catherine sitting by her fire
Catherine's yard with normal snowfall. Can you spot the deer? I can't imagine it post-blizzard!
Catherine's winter wonderland. Beautiful!
One sure fire way to cope with the cold is to curl up with a great story. So when you’re out stocking up on supplies for bad weather, if you’re near one of the Walmart stores that’s carrying Harlequin Heartwarming books (check this list), be sure to stock up! Or if you’re shopping online, you can now purchase/preorder both Print and ebook versions of Heartwarming books on Amazon, B&N and at Harlequin.com! Happy book birthday to this month’s release authors!

Speaking of book birthdays, when you're shopping for Heartwarming books online, you might notice that (ie on Amazon) the ebook and mass market paperback versions have different release dates. For example, Catherine's upcoming book Fear of Falling has a March 1st birthday, but you can get your hands on the paperback version on Amazon this month on Feb 23rd! Yay! And Rula's next release Through the Storm, due out May 1st, will be available in paperback April 19th! You get the idea :). I love the idea of getting my hands on print versions early ;).


So when it comes to today’s winter predictions, do you think El Niño made Groundhog Phil more or less accurate ? Are we going to exhaust our snow supply with a few blizzards, then set sail for an early spring? Or is winter going to drag through March? 

Were you in Blizzard Jonas’ path or are you gearing up for Storm Kayla? Are you planning to sneak in some reading while someone else shovels ;) or will a great book be your reward?

BREAKING NEWS! Groundhog Phil did NOT see his shadow today. That's supposed to mean an early spring. Will El Niño cooperate?


34 comments:

  1. Wow ladies, that's a lot of snow!! It sure is beautiful to look at though. When I lived in NY we had snow like that, but now that I'm in NC our snow usually only lasts a couple of days before the weather warms up and it disappears. I think we will get an early Spring this year, but I'm just guessing. ( : Congratulations on your upcoming books. I can't wait to see them in WalMart stores. And Catherine, you look so comfortable. I felt like jumping through my iPad and sitting next to you with a Heartwarming title to read.

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  2. Thanks, Laurie! My door is open at all times to all my Heartwarming pals. Believe me, there is NO way the groundhog saw his shadow here in Indiana. Ugh. What a gloomy day. But wasn't this post fun? I felt sooo sorry for Rula and all that snow these past weeks. Blessedly we've been pretty green. Until tomorrow. GULP! Good thing I ordered MORE Heartwarming books. I got them on fast ship. Should be here today. YAY!

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  3. Well I just updated that Phil didn't see his shadow, so Laurie, you may be right on the early spring! I'm still looking at a lot of snow though and having doubts lol.

    We have another 2 hr delay for school this morning. There's a lot of melt that refreezes overnight making roads slippery and a lot of country, dirt roads that can't get properly plowed. The problem is, we get an automated call at 6 AM letting us know about the delay. It's not said in these exact words, but isn't a call at 6AM to let you know you can sleep in kind of wrong? I can never get back to sleep!

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  4. I agree no fair on that early call. What is that? Modern torture?
    Here's my: Update from Indiana. The snow will go north of us. But thunderstorms and lots of rain starting at noon! I'm getting more wood for the fire!!! Wednesday is my writing day. Yahoo!!

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    1. Ah yes, we had stocked up on wood before it got all wet too!

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  5. Further south in Indiana, we're being very quiet, hoping the snow god won't notice we've had a crazy mild winter so far. Loved the snow pics, though! Stay safe, ladies.

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    1. It's been a blessed winter, huh??! I love it!

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    2. Well, I hope it turns out you don't get heavy snow!

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  6. Your beautiful pictures remind me of why I love Arizona. Sure we get snow, 2 hours and 5,000 feet away. Right now I’m wearing the toasty warm winter jacket my son left me when he returned to Alaska. If our weather keeps getting colder, we may get a frost this year which kills off the outer branches of the ficus trees.

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    1. Rub it in, Marion!! I used to live in Scottsdale. Oh how I miss it and especially my friends!!

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    2. Love that, Marion! Snow where you can enjoy it if and when you're in the mood!

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  7. I can't tell you how happy I am that the little guy did not see his shadow. I'm so ready for spring. It's freezing in Tucson this morning. Thanks for the update on Groundhog's Day ladies.

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    1. Roz, I will be in Tucson March 18-20 at the book fair. Are you going!?!?!?!? Will I see you??? Iced tea on me!

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    2. Here's wishing you an early spring!

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  8. I am praying the groundhog is correct this year. We haven't had much snow and the temperatures have been fairly mild, but I LOVE SPRING! It can't get here soon enough :)

    And that is A LOT of snow, Rula! Glad you all survived!

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    1. Amy.. I'm with you. Spring can't get here fast enough. I'm forcing bulbs. Seriously thinking of growing grass in those pretty clay pots I see in the catalogues. Early Easter this year!

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    2. We're having unusually warm temps the past few days but it'll drop at least 20 degrees after tomorrow and then I'm seeing more wintery mix for next week. We still have a ton of snow on the ground but the fast melt is making for major mud everywhere. The thing is, since we don't get heavy snows/blizzards every year, the county, as hard as they try, isn't as efficient at keeping roads and walkways clear as say they might be somewhere like Alaska or Canada. As long as we don't lose power, I'm fine!

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  9. Wow! You must be getting all the snow we would usually get! It's been ridiculously warm in southern Ontario. We have no snow and my spring plants are starting to sprout.

    On a sad note, it was in the news yesterday that our groundhog passed away a few days ago. I'm not sure what that means in terms of the start of spring-like weather for us. :-(

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    1. Kate. I hope you got a new ground hog!! But it's been crazy warm though really gloomy and depressing here near Lake Michigan!!

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    2. Aw that's sad! I do wonder what that means for groundhog predictions for you! I guess it's time to pass on the torch.

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  10. We totally missed the snow and I'm not sorry. I had to fly two days later and we don't do snow well here in the South! I do think it's beautiful and any other time would have welcomed it...maybe.

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    1. It really is pretty...until it gets muddy ;). The plow dunes along the sides of the road are all muddy and not so picturesque!

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  11. Rula, I also had to dig out of Jonas but I don't have chickens. At least you had eggs--we ran out of them :)

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    1. LOL I use times like blizzards to justify having chickens to my husband ;). Everyone kept hearing about how we'd have plenty of eggs to eat even if our pantry got depleted lol!

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    2. These are things that I must begin to consider for the future!!

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  12. I'm always fascinated by you hardy stock living in the snow. We had a wind storm the other day - nothing that closed schools.

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    1. Mel, I always think that folks in Canada are laughing at what WE close schools for ;).

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    2. Boy! Do I agree with that, Rula!
      Or our friend up in the Rocky Mountains.

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  13. While your photos of snow are beautiful, viewing them makes me stop complaining about all the rain we've had here in the Pac NW. I'm glad the snow stays mostly in our mountains. About this time, I start looking for the crocuses to pop up. That's my sign that spring is on the way.

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    1. You live in a beautiful area, Linda! I'm actually hoping that these brief warm spells don't coax any flowers or tree blossoms out too soon. If we get a late freeze March/April, it'll then kill the flowers and potential fruit on our trees etc... I'd like it to warm up and stay warm lol, but the plus side to cold weather is a reduction in mosquitoes come summer!

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    2. Linda, I love crocuses! And the hyacinths . But the take forever to get here. It will be April before anything pretty pops up. Sigh.

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  14. I love snow, until I have to commute to work. The pictures are beautiful, reminds me of growing up outside of Washington, DC. I remember some big storms, particularly the blizzard of 79. Congratulations on your books!

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  15. Oh my gosh!! The blizzard of 1979!! A doozie for sure. I remember one in Kalamazoo, Michigan I February of 1969 . I was in college. All girls school. Weekend of winter formal. All the guy dates got snowbound with the girls. The nuns went nuts! What stories!!!

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    1. Ha ha! I'll bet there were some great stories, Catherine!

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