The term “winter count” comes from the Lakota or Sioux tribe’s terms “waniyetu,” referring to the season of winter and “wowapi,” referring to anything noted or counted. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reports as early as the 17th century, Plains Indians kept pictographic calendrical winter counts. It is assumed that during harsh winters the tribes clustered inside, away from the elements to recollect important events, such as battles, deaths of leaders and famines occurring during the previous seasons. Some of the winter counts frequently depicted famines and important natural occasions, such as extreme climate conditions. Other tribes that maintained winter counts were the Blackfeet, Kiowa and Mandan tribes. Winter counts began with the first snowfall following autumn.

Fastcast: Returning rain, muggy.

Showers likely after noon. High near 90. Westerly winds 5 mph Rain chance: 70 percent. Tonight: Scattered showers before 1 a.m. Low about 75. Southerly winds 5 mph. Rain chance: 30 percent.