Farmer's Almanac: Colder than normal winter expected in Minnesota

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Minnesota is in for a cold and snowy winter this year, but it won't be as bad as last year, according to new long-range predictions.

The Farmer's Almanac, which is different from the Old Farmer's Almanac, released its long-range winter forecast this week, saying most of the United States will be "shivery and shovelry" – with cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls expected this winter.

The 198-year-old publication bases its predictions on sunspots, planetary positions and lunar cycles, The Associated Press says. Modern science doesn't typically support this method of forecasting, but the editors at Farmer's Almanac were among the few weather prognosticators to predict last year's extra cold, polar-vortex filled winter correctly.

The Farmer's Almanac says it'll be colder than normal, with the most frigid temperatures from the Northern Plains to the Great Lakes (see map above). The coldest outbreak of the season is expected during the final week of January and the beginning of February – temperatures in the Northern Plains could drop to 40-below zero. Snow is expected with the frigid air, dropping heavy amounts of snow near the Great Lakes, the almanac notes.

The Old Farmer's Almanac, which has been predicting the weather even longer than the Farmer's Almanac, says winter temperatures, precipitation and snowfall will be below normal for Minnesota, with the coldest periods in late December, January and early to mid-February. The snowiest periods are expected in late November, mid to late December, early to mid January and mid to late February, according to that publication.

Something to note: colder or warmer than average is only about 2 to 5 degrees different, The Associated Press notes.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the southeast corner of Wisconsin is on the edge of the cold and snowy area of the Midwest, which is expected to experience a more harsh winter than Minnesota (see map above), the Journal Times says.

Meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote on the Star Tribune's weather blog saying "'I'm always shocked when Minnesota doesn't experience a super cold winter," adding a repeat of last year's polar vortex isn't likely, but he predicts we're in for cold with significant snowfall, just "not the extreme levels ... we endured last winter."

The National Weather Service's climate prediction center shows temperatures in Minnesota will be slightly above average, while precipitation is expected to be average this winter.

AccuWeather also has a prediction for this fall, saying Minnesota will "stay cool."

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