Minnesota's winter forecast winner: Old Farmer's Almanac vs. Farmers' Almanac

One was quite a bit more accurate than the other.
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snow, blowing snow

Winter is over, hopefully.

In retrospect, what publication forecast a more accurate winter for Minnesota: The Old Farmer's Almanac or the Farmers' Almanac?

The Old Farmer's Almanac called for a mild and dry winter for nearly all of Minnesota, with the exception for a mild and wet winter being extreme southern Minnesota south of Interstate 90. It cited less solar activity and a weak El Niño that would "prevent cold air masses from lingering in the North."

The Farmers' Almanac, meanwhile, called for a "teeth-chattering cold" winter in Minnesota with "plentiful snow." 

Before we get to the results, you need to know the monthly averages, of which we'll use Minneapolis as the point of reference. Minneapolis' average high/low temps in November, December, January, February and March are as follows: 

  • November: 41/26
  • December: 27/12
  • January: 24/8
  • February: 29/13
  • March: 41/24

In terms of snowfall, Minneapolis averages 9 inches of snow in November, 12 in December, 12 in January, 8 in February and 10 in March.

As you can see in the table below, November was colder and drier than normal, December was warmer and drier, January was colder and drier, February was colder with record-setting snow, and March was slightly cooler than normal with 10.5 inches falling at MSP Airport being right on average. 

MonthAverage high tempAverage low tempSnow (inches)

November

34.1

22.3

4.0

December

31.7

20.0

6.7

January

21.8

6.8

6.8

February

21.2

4.5

39.0

March

37.2

19.8

10.5

The Old Farmer's Almanac had it right in terms of it being drier than normal the first half of winter, but it got it wrong – outside of December – for predicting a mild winter. 

Remember the wicked visit from the polar vortex Jan. 29-31 that kept temps well below zero (wind chills were horrible) for 72+ hours? That actually helped January's temperature average fall below normal after the first half of the month had nine days above freezing.

The Old Farmer's Almanac deserves some credit for that, because without the historic Arctic blast, December and January might've trended warmer than normal.  

The Farmers' Almanac got the "teeth-chattering cold" part right and wound up looking smart with a wetter than normal forecast despite a drier than normal November, December and January. 

The metro only had 17.5 inches of snow by the end of January and wound up with 67 inches by the end of March – and a total of 77.1 if you count the 0.3 inches from October and the 9.8 inches so far in April. 

The average annual snowfall in the Twin Cities is 55 inches, so it was definitely wetter. 

Parts of far southern Minnesota (Marshall got 88 inches) got even more snow, which agin favors the Farmers' Almanac. 

It still confuses us why these farmers can't get along, but annual bragging are currently in the hands of the Farmers' Almanac. 

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