Minnesota and much of the rest of the United States are in for an especially frigid winter, according to the newly released Farmers’ Almanac and its older rival, which comes out later in August.
In its 200th anniversary edition unveiled Monday, the Farmers’ Almanac said a deep freeze will grip the Northern Plains, the Great Lakes, the Midwest, the Ohio Valley, the mid-Atlantic and New England. For a warm winter, head west, said the folksy, Maine-based publication.
A local meteorologist was quick to call the almanac a curiosity that lacks “scientific validity.”
Meteorologist Paul Douglas said the almanac never releases a formula for its forecasts. Predicting a specific forecast months in advance is more of a horoscope, he said.
“It’s like trying to predict where the stock market is going to be in the third week of January,” Douglas said. “So good luck. It would be miraculous if you could predict a nine-month forecast.”
Yet, Douglas offered his own winter predictions: mild, with some snow.
“I’m being purposely vague,” he added. “My gut — and that’s all it is — is that winter will come later than usual, like November, and we’ll just have more erratic snow, unlike the consistent snow 30, 40 years ago.”
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen says it’s unsure of the accuracy of the almanac’s predictions and wouldn’t comment on what this winter could bring.
This almanac’s 200th edition offers not only the usual gardening tips, homespun humor and practical advice for one’s life, but also includes material from the past as part of its nod to the milestone anniversary.
“Return of the Ice Cold Winter” is how it describes the upcoming winter, basing its long-range forecasts on a formula it says is nearly 200 centuries old.
Modern scientists don’t put much stock in the unconventional weather formula based on sunspots, tidal action and other factors.
“February is the month to really be ready for cold conditions,” said editor Peter Geiger. “According to our long-range outlook, many places will see downright frigid temperatures ... some as low as 40 degrees below zero.”
Geiger blamed an El Niño for wrecking last year’s prediction with unexpected warmth. This winter, he said, there is no El Niño to foul up the weather prognostication.
Away from forecasting, the almanac serves up advice on how to raise chickens, ways to tap naturally into your own fountain of youth, a search for the Farmers’ Almanac Farmer of the Year, as well as gardening and fishing calendars, recipes and astronomical events.
The almanac’s climatological counterpart from neighboring New Hampshire, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, comes out in late August and is marking its 225th anniversary. Its weather forecast also calls for colder conditions for most of the nation.
While boasting its “traditionally 80 percent accurate predictions,” Old Farmer’s Almanac missed anticipating last winter’s warmup.
Along with taking the nation’s future temperature, the upcoming Old Farmer’s Almanac includes tributes from President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among articles on mangrove forests and presidential beer preferences.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.