Winter Forecast for 2018-2019: Brings both Good and Bad News

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Regardless of your winter preference the two different Farmer's Almanacs have you covered for the winter of 2018 – 2019, as they both completely disagree with each other.

Old Farmer’s Almanac:

Old Farmer’s Almanac

Winter 2018/19 across the US according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Similar to the NOAA forecast recently released, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for an El Niño season to bring warmer temperatures across most of North America this winter.

This winter, we expect to see above-normal temperatures almost everywhere in the United States, except in the Southwest, where we’re predicting a colder-than-normal season. Our milder-than-normal forecast is due to a decrease in solar activity and the expected arrival of a weak El Niño, which will prevent cold air masses from lingering in the North.

The Northeast

Winter will be milder than normal, on average, with above-normal precipitation and near-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will occur from late December into mid-January and late January into early February and in mid to late February. The snowiest periods will be in early January, early to mid-February, mid-March, and early April. April and May will be rainier than normal, with below-normal temperatures.

Farmer’s Almanac:

Farmer’s Almanac

Winter 2018/19 across the US according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts colder-than-normal weather from the Continental Divide east through the Appalachians. Near-normal winter temperatures will only be prevalent in areas west of the Rockies, the Mid-Atlantic States, and the Southeast.

Included in the frigid outlook is above-average snowfall expected for the Great Lakes, New England, and the Northeast, with some snow expected to arrive in the Mid-Atlantic and New England by December.

As to when the cold may end, the Farmers' Almanac says that a stormy March could feature a “potent East Coast storm” that could keep snow on the ground into spring.

The Farmer's Almanac says it bases its long-range forecast "on a mathematical and astronomical formula developed in 1818."

Meteorologists Scoff at the almanacs and side with NOAA

Overall, meteorologists generally scoff at the annual predictions from these almanacs.

"Your annual reminder that using the Farmers' Almanac for a seasonal meteorological outlook is about as good as going to a psychic," Houston meteorologist Matt Lanza said.

Weather forecasting is "a rigorous and quantitative science steeped in physics, advanced math, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics," University of Georgia atmospheric scientist J. Marshall Shepherd wrote on "Media fascination with predictions from almanacs or groundhogs perpetuates this perception."


NOAAWinter 2018/19 across the US according to the NOAA.

NOAA has released their winter weather forecast/ prediction/outlook for winter 2018 – 2019. Unlike the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which uses a “top secret mathematical and astronomical formula,” the scientist at NOAA use global weather patterns as well as the development of El Nino or La Nina conditions to make their seasonal forecasts.

For the 2018 – 2019 winter, NOAA is predicting about 70% chance of El Niño conditions to develop during the 2018-2019 winter.

While precipitation is expected to fluctuate across the country, the El Niño prediction calls for warmer than average temperatures across the entire country from October through December.

As winter progresses, temperatures across the whole country are forecast to remain above average, and other than Alaska, precipitation is forecast to be either normal or less than normal.

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