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Lileks: Farmer's Almanac Winter prediction: Move away

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS
  • Star Tribune
  • August 30, 2014 - 5:12 PM

Farmer’s Almanac has predicted that its predictions will once again cause media people to talk about their predictions, and once again they are absolutely correct. Using a secret formula rumored to involve the thickness of chipmunk whiskers, the number of clouds in August that look like Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg, the sponginess of lichen in late May and the likelihood of reporters recycling news releases, they have determined that we will write about their prediction of a cold, miserable winter.

The Almanac called the last bone-aching winter correctly. The Weather Service didn’t, and according to an MPR story they sound a bit peeved. “Good for them if they got it right last year,” said a spokesman, “and I’ll leave it at that.” Translation: How cute that the Astrology and Alchemy Society guessed the lottery numbers by reading tea leaves and fish guts.

Details from the Almanac’s website: The Upper Plains will be “Frigid and Flaky,” while the midsection of the country is “Bitter and Snowy.” (There’s an arrow pointing to “Bitter and Flaky,” but that’s the house of someone’s ex-spouse.) Big diff, eh. Some specifics: “The coldest outbreak of the season will come during the final week of January into the beginning of February.” In related news, the sky will gradually lighten in the morning, then begin to darken in the late afternoon.

What does the egghead brigade say? The NOAA, the government weather agency whose name suggests 40 days and 40 nights of rain, says below-average temps, but it depends. El Niño might have something to say about it, and if the sun belches out a mass coronal ejection 8 million miles long, this would bring record temps to the Upper Plains, with an above-average chance of total civilizational collapse as the tongue of flame scours the world.

It’s winter. It’ll be cold. That’s my prediction. I have my own secret weather formula. It’s called memory.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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