Farmers' Almanac Leaves Chicago in the Cold

Farmers and meteorologists have conflicting winter forecasts

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Farmers' Almanac says we're in for a bitterly cold winter, but the National Weather Service says otherwise.

    It's beautiful out there. So no one in Chicago wants to think about winter just yet. But don't get caught off-guard.

    According to the Farmers' Almanac, this year's winter will come with a punch.

    The 2010 edition of the Farmers' Almanac, released yesterday, is predicting an ice-cold sandwich and warns that a cooler-than-average summer could lead to a cooler-than-average winter.

    The forecast for Chicago and the surrounding area is "bitterly cold and dry," surrounded by very cold conditions for most of the Midwest. According to the publication, this icy weather will be sandwiched by more moderate conditions on both coasts.

    "A large area of numbingly cold temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to west of the Appalachians. The coldest temperatures will be over the northern Great Lakes and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan," the almanac states.

    "But acting almost like the bread of a sandwich, to this swath of unseasonable cold will be two regions with temperatures that will average closer to normal -- the West Coast and the East Coast."

    The almanac's predictions are made two years in advance, based on mathematical and astronomical formulas taking sunspot activity, tidal action, the position of the planet and many other factors into consideration.

    "I'll take the cold if it means less snow," says Jeff Walter, 37. "The last two winters had too much of that."

    However, the almanac—whose readers claim it has an 80-85 percent rate of accuracy—is in stark contrast to the Climate Prediction Center.

    The CPC, a division of the National Weather Service, is forecasting a much warmer-than-average winter for the region, based on climatology from past cycles of El Niño (the periodic change in the Pacific atmosphere).

    In this battle of dueling forecasts, we're willing to bet that most Chicagoans want the farmers to be wrong on this one.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, prefers his cold and snow in moderation.