The Old Farmers' Almanacs are in the mail! I got my copy yesterday, but you can also read it online. Their long-range forecast for Winter 2014 is COLD, COLD, COLD!!! Significant snowfalls, too.
Yes, bitterly cold, bitingly cold, cold and nasty--especially in February.
I'm not ready to think about snowpants, today.
It's been almost autumnal lately, hoodies in the evenings and blankets at night. It felt like back-to-school weather, and now the schools are closing early because of the heat--the hottest temperatures we've had here in over a month.
As soon as school starts, it's summer again. Kind of like washing your car and then it rains.
Well, there's a chance of rain in the five-day forecast, anyway, for those who are watering the parkways as an offering, the petrichor of sidewalks and garden hoses.
But what about that long-range forecast in the Farmers' Almanac?
Meteorologists are quick to respond. "Outrageous," is what Jason Samenow called it in The Capital Weather Gang blog for the Washington Post.
At present, there's no way to predict weekly conditions that far in the future. There are just too many variables for any kind of accuracy, let alone to predict super-storm conditions for the Superbowl!
Nevertheless, the Almanac claims 80% accuracy, which sounds pretty good. That may be an exaggeration, but maybe that's part of its appeal.
It does seem kind of old-fashioned, but it's not just a throwback to a simpler time. We're talking long-term trends, here. There's wit and top-secret methodology at work behind that long-range forecast.
So how do they make the predictions? The long-range forecasts are based on solar science (sunspots and solar activity), climatology (weather patterns) and meteorology.
According to Caleb Weatherbee, "Our forecasts emphasize temperature and precipitation deviations from averages, or normals. These are based on 30-year statistical averages prepared by government meteorological agencies and updated every ten years. The most recent tabulations span the period 1971 through 2000."
As for the coming winter, and February, so much can happen between now and then! We'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, you can read the Almanac online, or get it for your Kindle, NOOK or iPad.
The print version, however, might come in handy to fan yourself on a hot day like today. Looks like we could get some rain....
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