Brutal Winter? Almanac Could Be Wrong, NOAA Says


The United States is in for another long, cold winter, according to the newest edition of the Farmers' Almanac. But before you get out your snow shovel and fuzzy mittens, keep reading. Expert meteorologists say the nearly 200-year-old publication's foreboding forecast may be mistaken.

The 2015 edition of the Farmers' Almanac hit shelves Aug. 25, and its contents aren't heartwarming for the winter-weary. This winter will see "below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation," the Almanac reads. The new winter outlook also predicts that the Northern Plains and the Great Lakes regions of the U.S. will be hardest hit.

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"No region will see prolonged spells of above-normal temperatures," the forecast reads. A snowy winter is predicted for the eastern coastal part of the country, as well as the Central and Southern Plains. Drier conditions are forecasted for the Southwest, Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes. [The 10 Worst Blizzards in US History]

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But the predictions included in the Farmers' Almanac are just that: predictions. And these forecasts could be wrong, according to Anthony Artusa, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

While NOAA's official three-month outlook for the coming winter months isn't due out until around mid-October, Artusa said that meteorologists are not seeing the climate conditions that would indicate what the Almanac refers to as a "record breaking winter."

"We don't see anything offhand that would suggest it would be a really brutal winter," Artusa told Live Science.

The Almanac's forecast implies that certain complex weather conditions are expected in the coming months, something that Artusa said he has seen no evidence of in recent weeks.

"One of the things that we look for is whether we have an El Niño or La Niña in place," Artusa said. But these complex weather patterns, which result from variations in ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, are not present at the moment, he said.

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