7:00am

Thu September 6, 2012
Environment

Farmers’ Almanac Weighs in on Colorado Winter, and It’s Not Good

A seemingly endless drought this summer has created dried-up reservoirs and many disappointed farmers. The state’s climatologist told KUNC recently that a change in weather patterns—from a La Nina to a weak- to moderate-El Nino influence—could lead to more precipitation this fall.

Now the Farmers’ Almanac is weighing in with a winter forecast for the U.S. that won’t please Coloradans.

According to the Almanac, which is now promoting its 2013 edition, winter will return with a vengeance for many East Coast states. But states west of the Continental Divide will see mild temperatures and below average precipitation. Editor Peter Geiger writes:

It will be a 'winter of contraries'. It’s like Old Man Winter is cutting the country in half. The eastern half of the country will see plenty of cold and snow. The western half will experience relatively warm and dry condition. As in the political arena, the climate this winter will render us a nation divided.

In an age of scientific data and formulas, the Almanac has a cloud of mystery surrounding how exactly it makes its predictions. Forecasts over almost two centuries of the Almanac’s existence have always come down from the same person: Caleb Weatherbee. That conceals the identity of the actual forecaster. The exact formula used by Weatherbee is also a mystery.

According to a recent AP article:

The weather formula created by almanac founder David Young in 1818 was based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles. Since then, historical patterns, weather data and a computer have been added to the mix.

The AP goes on to report that Almanac failed to predict the extent of this year’s warm winter, but Accuweather and NOAA also failed to forecast the extent of it. Read the Almanac’s own scorecard here.

For the record, Accuweather is predicting what could translate into bigger snows for parts of Colorado this winter, and huge snowfall for the East Coast.

Credit Accuweather