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PERRY COUNTY - The late-summer heat is still with us but winter isn't far off. That means cold, snow and ice in the not-so-distant future.
What kind of winter lies ahead? Dick Frymire, the famed weather prognosticator from Irvington, Ky., is calling for a winter season dotted with several small and medium-sized snowfalls and a mid-winter cold snap that will take the mercury well below zero.
This year's forecast is Frymire's 43rd and is based on a secret formula of readings he takes from a Japanese maple tree and combines with past winter-weather data. His forecasts, followed by thousands of people and kept throughout the winter to gauge his accuracy, include dates for several winter firsts, including frost, killing frost, first flurries, the inaugural measurable snow and spring's first robin.
After a light frost just over a month from now, Oct. 8, the growing season will end with an Oct. 16 killing frost. Frymire predicts the first flurries of the winter will fly Nov. 6 with the first measurable snow coming just before midnight Nov. 20.
Separate one-inch snowfalls will whiten the landscape before and after Thanksgiving with a 2-inch layer of flakes Dec. 7. Frymire is calling for another inch of snow Dec. 23 and the flakes could hang around to give the area a rare white Christmas.
Mother Nature won't be kind in early 2009, Frymire's prognostication suggests, with a cold snap beginning Jan. 7 and lasting until Feb. 7. A 6-inch snow will slow travelers Jan. 15 with another 5 inches coming Jan. 23. The mercury will dip to 12 below zero Jan. 15.
Sleet will be followed by another 3 inches of snow Jan. 29, again creating dangerous driving conditions.
Storms will deliver small snowfalls in February, with a final inch of snow March 20. The final flurries of the year will fly in April. The first robin is due to show itself Feb. 25.