How They Forecast a Cold Winter
One day in early September the chief of a Native American tribe was asked
by his tribal elders if the winter of 2009/10 was going to be cold or mild.
The chief asked his medicine man, but he too had lost touch with the reading
signs from the natural world around the Great Lakes.
In truth, neither of them had idea about how to predict the coming winter.
However, the chief decided to take a modern approach and he telephoned the
National Weather Service in Gaylord, Michigan.
"Yes, it is going to be a cold winter," the meteorological officer told the chief.
Consequently, he went back to his tribe and told the men to collect plenty of
A fortnight later the chief called the Weather Service and asked for an update.
"Are you still forecasting a cold winter?" he asked.
"Yes, very cold," the weather officer told him.
As a result of this brief conversation the chief went back to the tribe and told
his people to collect every bit of wood they could find.
A month later the chief called the National Weather Service once more and
asked about the coming winter.
"Yes," he was told, "it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever."
"How can you be so sure?" the chief asked.
The weatherman answered, "Because the Native Americans of the Great Lakes
are collecting wood like crazy."