Farmers' Almanac says rough winter ahead, but is it right?

The pass or fail grade when looking back
Farmers' Almanac says rough winter ahead, but is it right?
Posted at 9:18 AM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 09:23:43-04

Winter projections often come out this time of year from publications like the Farmers' Almanac. It may already be in your Facebook feed. But how realistic is it?

The 2017-2018 Winter Outlook from Farmers' Almanac says we'll have a cold winter with average snowfall.

Winter 2017-2018

The Climate Prediction Center has a slightly different outlook for the Tri-State this winter. The CPC is calling for warmer than normal temperatures for the months of December-January-February. Granted the term "cold" used by the almanac is going to be true of this time of year, it is indeed cold!

The CPC doesn't indicate any strong signs of higher or lower levels of snow this winter. On average, 17.8 inches of snow falls in this 3-month span when looking back at climatological records. So yes, it is going to snow. Calling for an "average snowfall" is a fair assessment at this point by the Almanac.

Precipitation anomalies for Dec-Jan-Feb

How well did the Farmers' Almanac do last year? I'd give it a failing grade for your Tri-State forecast if we are being completely honest. 

Last years outlook

They said it would be numbingly cold. Was it? No.

December saw near normal temperatures. January ended up 6 degrees above normal for the month. February went down with record warm temperatures, ending 9.5 degrees above normal. This was definitely not "numbingly cold" winter conditions.

As for snow, the almanac forecast was also just OK. Granted, "snowy" is a pretty general term used by the almanac forecast.

Did it snow? Yes. But snow was well below average. We picked up 2.2 inches of snow in December, 4.2 inches in January and 1.6 inches in February. That ended up 9.8 inches BELOW normal when looking at those 3 months.

Those are the facts along with a look at a forecast from a different entity. Now it's up to you to decide if you want to read the Farmers' Almanac for fun, forecast or doctrine. Winter will be here regardless before we know it.