Almanac Predicts Unusually Cold Winter

Associated Press
Monday, August 28, 2006

LEWISTON, Maine -- After one of the warmest winters on record, this coming winter will be much colder than normal from coast to coast, according to the latest edition of the venerable Farmers' Almanac.

The nearly 190-year-old almanac, which says its forecasts are accurate 80 percent to 85 percent of the time, correctly predicted a "polar coaster" of dramatic swings for last winter, editor Peter Geiger said. For example, New York City collected 40 inches of snow even though it was one of the warmest winters in the city's history.

This year, predicts the almanac's reclusive forecaster, Caleb Weatherbee, it will be frigid from the Gulf Coast all the way up the East Coast.

But it'll be especially nippy on the Northern Plains -- up to 20 degrees below seasonal norms in much of Montana, the Dakotas and part of Wyoming, he writes.

And, he says, it'll be especially snowy across the nation's midsection, much of the Pacific Northwest, the mountains of the Southwest and parts of eastern New England.

Last winter was the fifth-warmest on average in the lower 48 states. Forty-one states had temperatures above average, according to the National Climatic Data Center. That reduced energy demand by an estimated 11 percent, it said.

This year's retail edition of the Farmers' Almanac is the biggest ever, at 208 pages. It includes traditional charts on astronomy, average frost dates, and planting and gardening calendars. It also has the usual down-home features and cornball humor.

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