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Answer Man: Crow emergencies likely this winter

Back in August, I promised to release the Winter 2013-14 Crow Forecast for Rochester on Nov. 1, and here we are already. I've done immense research, flipped a few coins, consulted with wooly caterpillars and Punxsutawney Phil, and I've come up with what I think you'll agree is an important, if distasteful, look at the winter ahead for downtown Rochester.

As you know if you live or work downtown -- or if you simply read this marvelous column day in and day out, in which I've done more than my share to fan crow hysteria -- crows take over downtown trees in winter. They leave plenty of evidence, in the form of smelly excrement, all over sidewalks, benches, cars, parking meters, lamp posts, bus stops...shall I go on?

The city and Mayo are planning another wintertime assault on the birds, but unless they're planning to use flame throwers and bazookas, I believe this forecast will remain accurate.

Here's my first-ever winter crow forecast. You can expect a lot more of these in the years ahead.

"Cold and snowy means extra-crowy"

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This old adage isn't as well-known as "red in the morning, sailor take warning," but it's just as true — crows fly into downtown when it gets too cold and snowy out in the country. My computer models predict a moderately chilly winter, turning downright cold in early February, with just-above-average snow.

That's a perfect combination for crows, so I predict this will be an above-average year for the big birds downtown. Doppler radar is already confirming this.

Major crow storms in December, February

Major crow storms are expected in early December — from Dec. 3 to Dec. 9, give or take a week — with 1 to 2 inches of crow droppings. During the late January thaw, expect heavy poopfall in areas west of downtown, and this warming trend (with a good chance of partly crowy skies) will continue through February.

Colder temps are expected in March, so you'll want to keep those shovels handy. Air quality will be an issue during the January thaw.

Crow emergencies, with parking restrictions and plowing down the middle of the streets, are likely in mid-December and early February.

Though my computer models show a longer-than-average winter again this year, the forecast calls for clear skies by early April.

Lots of white stuff

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Heaviest deposits are expected in and around Central Park, with whiteout conditions along Fourth Avenue near St. John the Evangelist and Calvary churches, and extending south toward Mayo's Harwick Courtyard.

Showers can't be ruled out along on Fourth and Fifth Avenues Southwest close to Soldiers Field as well. Motorists are advised to use caution when they park.

The eye of the crow storms downtown have typically been over tree-lined Historic Third Street, but I expect fewer crows there this winter, in part because that's where city employees armed with lasers and noisemakers are likely to congregate. Strong crow cells will develop in other areas, including the bright top level of the Mayo parking ramp by Gonda.

The upside to all this? It'll be an excellent winter for skiing in downtown Rochester.

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