2015 Winter OutlookThose of us in the West in the grips of a relentless drought will likely not find much solace in this years forecast. The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting another record-breaking winter season for much of the United States, however where the heaviest snow will fall is up for debate – it will be influenced by El Niño pattern in the Pacific Ocean and the forecasters haven’t settled on what that will look like.

The Almanac is predicting near-normal or below-normal precipitation for the Southwest states, with truly “shivery and shovelry” weather for the Northern Plains, Great Lakes and East Coast. Generally speaking, an El Niño winter means more snow in the southern U.S. and less in north. This may or not be good for those of you who like to ski!

According to the 198th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac, “The winter of 2014–2015 will see below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation, with the most frigid areas occurring in and around the Northern Plains into the Great Lakes.”  The Almanac, which has been predicting the weather for nearly 200 years, suggests that there will be a very cold outbreak during the final week of January into the beginning of February, going as far as to state that temperatures could drop to 40 below over the Northern Plains.

For the first time in its 198-year history, the Farmers’ Almanac did put a small disclaimer near its winter outlook. At the time of printing for the 2015 edition, the National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration issued an official El Nino warning. As Caleb Weatherbee, Farmers’ Almanac weather prognosticator notes, “an El Nino could result in more rain this winter for drought-stricken California and southern states, and a milder winter for the nation’s frigid northern tier.”  This could affect the Almanac’s long-range outlook, but both its editors and Weatherbee stand by their winter forecast of more “shivery and shovelry,” and suggest readers wax their skis and snowboards, and stock up on firewood, sweaters, and hot cocoa for another long, cold winter.

Care to place any bets on this one? ;-)

More weather predictions and maps online at www.farmersalmanac.com.