The Old Farmer's Almanac winter prediction: 'Prepare for a season of shivers'

Oh, goodie.
winter, cold,

Frozen Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis during the 2019 winter. 

One could easily argue that the worst kind of winter is a cold and dry winter. The snow makes things interesting, albeit it a pain in the butt for travel, but winter can get very long when it's cold and dry. 

Alas, a cold and dry winter is precisely what The Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest

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“This coming winter could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years,” said Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The annual seasonal outlook warns Americans to prepare for a "Season of Shivers." 

Here's what The Old Farmer's Almanac says about the Upper Midwest: 

"Winter temperatures will be below normal, on average, with the coldest periods in early, mid-, and late December; early and late January; and mid-February. Precipitation will be above normal in the east and below normal in the west, while snowfall will be below normal in most areas. The snowiest periods will be in late November, mid- to late December, mid- and late January, mid- and late February, and late March."

Last week, The Farmers' Almanac predicted Minnesota's 2021-22 winter to be "numb" with lots of shoveling. So both of the farmer-based almanacs are in line with thinking the upcoming winter is going to be frigid. 

"I know people want to believe in the ‘mystical powers’ of a secret forecast formula that’s been around for hundreds of years but the truth is their forecasts are no more accurate than anything from the Climate Prediction Center," says meteorologist Sven Sundgaard. 

What does the National Weather Service think?

Per NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, November-January has equal chances of below-normal or above-normal temperatures and precipitation for Minnesota. And the same goes for December-February, though the long-range outlook does suggest a slight chance of above-normal precipitation January-March.

The Twin Cities averages 54 inches of snow each winter, though just shy of 49 inches was recorded last winter (when The Old Farmers' Almanac wrongly predicted above-normal snowfall). The winters of 2017-18 and 2018-19 were much snowier, with more than 77 inches piling up both winters. 

The winter of 2018-19 saw a monthly record of 39 inches fall in February, while the 2017-18 winter was capped off with a monster snowstorm that fueled 26 inches of snow in April.

The last time Minnesota had an incredibly hot summer was 2012. That was followed by a whopping 67.7 inches of snow in the Twin Cities during the 2012-13 winter, though there is next to nothing to support any connection between a hot summer and a wet winter. 

That said, the record-breaking hot summer of 1988 was followed by the '88-'89 winter dropping 70 inches of snow in the Twin Cities. 

Coincidence? Probably. 

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