Kids are back in school and the going-back-to-school heat wave is expected to pass in a week or so.

It seems like a good time to look to winter and the excitement that comes with a big whiteout storm. I know, most of us dread the idea of big winter storm but I've always found the forecast of one to be exciting. Sort of like opening a big Christmas present to find socks and underwear inside. Oh, well.

Here is what some of the forecasters are predicting this year.

The Farmer's Almanac says we will have a beautiful, sunny Christmas. Good news? Not so fast, Kemosabe.

November is expected to be worse than anything in December for our part of the United States.

"An intensifying storm moving east produces heavy dose of rain or wet snow. Frigidly cold air follows" for Nov. 8-11, states the Almanac.

Two more storms are expected before Thanksgiving by our friends at the Farmer's Almanac. On Nov. 16-19 we can expect a dose of heavy snow and colder temperatures, the Almanac states.

Accuweather has its extended winter 2014 map grayed out. Apparently those folks either aren't prepared to make a forecast or they don't want to scare us.

Back at the end of July, Matthew Holiday on firsthandweather.com forecast the coming winter in our neck of the woods will bring well below average temperatures and above average snowfall. Sounds pretty much like last winter to me. He hasn't updated the site since July 31 so one can only hope he downplays the snow and cold a bit in the future.

Matt Rogers at The Washington Post is also expecting a hard winter. He goes into a lot of scientific reasons to dread the cold and flu season at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang.

Of course, there is also the highly scientific means of forecasting by watching wooly worms.

I am told that if a wooly worm is crawling north, it will mean a hard winter and if it crawls south, a mild winter is expected. All the wooly worms I have seen were traveling east or west. Anyway, wouldn't the worms be smart enough to know that if you travel north from Indiana during a bad winter you will only be more miserable?

You can also check out the color of wooly worms. The ones I see are brown -- hardly definitive if you think a black wooly worm means a bad winter and a white worm means a mild winter.

Some folks watch where insects build their nests.

I knew a reporter who poo-poohed that idea when he learned I was traveling to a rural area to see a nest built a few inches above the ground one fall. Hah! Fooled him! We had a mild winter that year, so there!

So, what signs do you look for? Let me know. I will be glad to share them. Your signs might be better than the so-called experts' signs and we can "Hah! Fooled them!" in the spring.

By the way, if you have read this far, you must be a fan of watching the weather. Check out our new web site - www.CrawfordsvilleWeather.com. It has a Ton of weather information including radar centered in downtown Crawfordsville!



Frank Phillips is the editor of The Paper of Montgomery County.