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Winter and spring to be colder than normal, predicts pig spleen prognosticator

'This year’s spleen is rather unremarkable, meaning that we will see a gradual return to a more normal lifestyle as we get past or we get used to all the COVID-19 issues'

This winter and spring are expected to be colder than normal and will likely have more precipitation than usual, according to one of Saskatchewan’s most famous pig spleen prognosticators.

Jeff Woodward has been using porcine spleens to predict the weather for the past 13 years. He took over from his late uncle Gus Wickstrom, well-known as the pig spleen weather forecaster for decades.

Woodward conducted his prognostication recently at his brother’s house without the usual entertainment, public participation and party-like atmosphere. However, some alcohol — Aquavit — was imbibed to set the mood for the analysis and continue a Scandinavian tradition, he joked in a Facebook post

To perform a prediction, a spleen is divided into six equal parts to represent the months of January to June. When interpreted properly, prognosticators can tell what the temperature and weather might be based on the fat on the spleen, he explained. Tradition says a forecast can’t be made outside of these six months, or it violates the rules.

“Violating Viking tradition risks not getting into Valhalla, so the charlatans that might be pretending to do similar predictions might (want to) be careful,” Woodward said humorously. 

The prognosticator used a single pig spleen from a happy free-range hog from the Cobler Farm near Gull Lake. Although he obtained several spleens from which to peruse, he said one “was by far the most telling.”

Last year’s spleen had “very odd characteristics,” which corresponded with the shenanigans in the United States with former president Donald Trump at the start of 2021 and the pandemic in general, he continued. 

“This year’s spleen is rather unremarkable, meaning that we will see a gradual return to a more normal lifestyle as we get past or we get used to all the COVID-19 issues,” Woodward stated.

The fat on the spleen suggests Saskatchewanians will freeze more than usual this winter and spring and will see more precipitation.

“One must keep in mind that this is a climate change pig, so even though the temperatures show colder weather than normal, the old-timers will say that this is nothing compared to what we used to experience,” said Woodward. 

Starting in February, the temperature will gradually become colder and generally remain cold until the end of April, while May and June will be about normal with no precipitation, he continued. Even though it will be colder than normal, temperatures will be turbulent with drastic changes from warm spells bracketed by “very cold” weather with high winds.

February

Temperatures in February will gradually improve over the month, with a warming trend between Feb. 5 and 9 and snow-rain a possibility. It could snow around Feb. 20 — a blizzard possibly — and again at the end of the month and into March. 

Expect cold winds with the cold weather overall.

March/April

There will be snow at the start of March and mid-month. There will be a couple of warm days around March 12, followed by some snow. Temperatures will gradually improve throughout the month, but it will be cold to colder than normal.

April will see continued improvement with temperatures below normal but not as significantly as in previous months. It could snow near April 7. April will tend towards average to above-average temperatures until the end of the month, when it will cool off around April 27. 

The spleen shows one significant snow and rain event around April 21.

May/June

Temperatures will rapidly change to mild and more normal at the end of April. There are rain events around May 2 and again around May 22 but not much afterward until the end of June. June will be a normal month temperature-wise but dry until the end of the month