The winter of 1984-85 for the middle Atlantic coast is going to be warmer and drier than recent years, according to long-range predictions of the venerable Old Farmer's Almanac.
It's going to be colder and wetter than average, if you believe the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack, Hagerstown, Md.
The fifth Jacobsen Snow Almanac (Jacobsen Consumer Products, Homelite Division of Textron Inc.), prepared from statistics supplied by the National Climatic Center, Asheville, N.C., doesn't stick its neck out one way or another, other than to say we should expect the first snowfall Nov. 29, the last, March 24, 1985, with 28.1 total inches for the season.
A spokesman for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration says Doland Gilman, the meteorologist who makes the official long-range prediction for the government, absolutely "does not say anything" concerning his forecast before Nov. 28, when it is released.
"The United States Weather Service," says Old Farmer's Almanac editor Jud Hale, "spends most of the year saying there is no such thing as a long-range weather forecast, and then, of course, they go ahead and make one right after Thanksgiving for the winter. It's always identical to what we've said. I think they're reading our almanac."
For the record, Hale's summary of his almanac's forecast for the middle Atlantic coastal region:
"We're looking for a milder, drier winter overall, with a quite mild beginning. November and December will be fairly warm, but with a fairly significant snowstorm -- it might be rain -- right in the middle of December.
"January and February, fairly cold -- particularly February, relative to the average. March will be fairly warm again, in fact 2 degrees above average. It doesn't look like a wild winter, but on the other hand there will be times when, in our view, it'll seem wintry down here Washington ."
Gerald W. Spessard, business manager for the Hagers-Town Almanack, says his publication's forecaster is calling for 70 inches of snow this winter, "two times the normal, within 50 miles of Hagerstown, including Washington and Baltimore."
In addition, he says, we can expect this winter to be "one of the worst for cold and snow since the early '60s."