Mother Nature may very well give the big chill to Ohio's up-coming muzzle-loading deer-hunting season, set for Jan. 4 through 7.
While the season's start on Saturday will experience reasonable enough highs from near 30 degrees in Northeast Ohio and northwest Ohio, 36 degrees in southwest Ohio, to around 37 degrees in southeast Ohio, the bottom will fall out starting Sunday evening, various weather forecasting bodies are now saying.
That is when temperatures throughout the state will plummet at night and struggle to recover Monday and Tuesday, the last two days of the season.
Lows on Monday night are forecast to tumble to minus-10 degrees in portions of southeast Ohio and minus-13 degrees in parts of northwest Ohio.
The “warmest” overnight lows Monday are forecast to be minus-5 degrees in Northeast Ohio.
Daytime highs practically everywhere on Monday will remain well below their historic averages. Some spots may not even reach zero degrees while the highest temperatures for the day may reach 15 degrees in extreme Northeast Ohio.
And temperatures will bottom out on Tuesday – the last day of Ohio's statewide, four-day muzzle-loading deer-hunting season.
Moderation will begin Wednesday, forecasters say, and continue to approach and even exceed seasonal averages as the week goes on.
Of course by then it will come too late for the season.
Thus, not only will the season's all-time record harvest of 25,006 deer set in 2009 remain secure, last year's so-so muzzle-loading kill of 21,555 animals won't be surpassed.
Coupled with expectant stiff breezes and nastily uncomfortable wind chill factors will become a frigid reality.
Then there will be snow, both on the ground and what is forecast to fall.
Consequently, the weather conditions almost everywhere in Ohio will almost certainly discourage all but the most hardy (or desperate) of Ohio's estimated 250,000 black-powder enthusiasts.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn