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Started in 1818, the “Farmer’s Almanac”, and its long-standing rival the “Old Farmer’s Almanac”, which debuted in 1793, publish annual weather predictions based on their own unique (and entirely secret) forecasting formulas. The “Farmer’s Almanac” makes their forecasts two years in advance, and relies on “sunspot activity, tidal action, the position of the planet, and many other factors.” Similarly, the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” compares solar patterns and past weather patterns to derive future trends. Both publications tout an 80 percent accuracy rate. In my opinion, both are significantly stretching the truth!

Whatever your thoughts, it's always fun this time of year to see what each is predicting for the winter ahead. Apparently one is looking at at an alternative universe because the two couldn't be more different in their interpretations of winter. Check this out.

The Farmers' Almanac touts teeth-chattering cold and abundant snows for the Midwest. A real nasty winter.

The Old Farmer's Almanac calls for above normal temperatures almost everywhere. A relatively mild winter and one that's clearly in line with a La Nina driven pattern.

The long range U.S. climate model the CFSv2 is currently showing a strong El Nino by winter. However the statistical average of all models is more in line with a weak to moderate event. I prefer that.

Here's what the strong El Nino of the CFSv2 projects for winter temperature departures. That sure looks like what the Old Farmer's Almanac is showing this winter.

Before all of you winter and "white gold" freaks lose your mind, here's some hope. The EURO 500mb jet anomalies (December- February) show a ridge in NW Canada and trough over the SE. That is a much colder set up and one that could be active for the central Midwest. It certainly is not the blow torch scenario the CFSv2 is advertising.

The EURO temperature departures for winter look like this. Compare that to the CFSv2 departures above. Note too, the EURO is known for having trouble picking up on the intensity of the cold this early and I would expect it to have a chillier look as winter approaches...assuming it holds onto the same 500mb pattern.

One of the more bullish models for winter is the Pioneer developed by Joe D'Aleo of It shows a an abundance of cold for much of the eastern 2/3rds of the nation. It did a nice job last winter.

It's safe to say at this point nobody can safely say what winter will be. If I was a betting man, I think a blend of the two Farmer's Almanacs would get you pretty close. I'll have a better handle on trends by the end of the month. Roll weather...TS

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