Unusually warm winter worries farmers

Some of the elders from Western Romania followed an old tradition on New Year’s Eve to guess how the weather will be next year by salting 12 slices of an onion. Each of them represented a month and the quantity of melted salt indicated the amount of rainfall.
Another old weather guessing method practiced in Hungarian communities is to observe the weather starting the day of Saint Lucia (13th December) until Christmas Day, each day indicating a month of the next year.
Maybe this year the prediction was right, as January is unusually mild and with little amount of precipitation and the Romanian Meteorological Agency (ANM) didn’t forecast major changes for the next weeks.
Because of and anticyclone and some low pressure systems over the Atlantic, most of December was mild and foggy too, with a low rainfall. Temperatures went above average with several degrees all over the country, but in central and western parts of Romania climbed as high as 14 or 15 degrees in cities like Sibiu and Arad.
Unusually mild weather in the past month worries farmers especially in Western Romania, who are afraid that a sudden drop of temperatures would affect crops and orchards.
The most sensitive seems to be cherry trees and apricot trees, which are about to bud in some places and could be affected by strong freeze.
The lack of snow could be dangerous if temperatures dip more than 10 grades below zero, because it covers and protects crops from freezing and provides humidity necessary from growing.
Snowdrop (photo), the herald of spring, blossomed this year in early January and hyacinth, a March flower, started to grow. In some places even the lilacs started to sprout.
Saint Lucia’s calendar indicates similar weather for February, but high precipitation for March. People hope it will be rain instead of snow and low temperatures.