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A nasty winter for Wichita and Kansas?

That’s what the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting for Kansas and most of the Heartland.

The venerable publication’s 2010 edition, which went on sale Tuesday, predicts numbing cold for the country’s midsection, from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians. Here’s a map of the winter forecast, which I pulled from the Farmer’s Almanac Web site.

“We feel the middle part of the country’s really going to be cold — very, very cold, very, very frigid, with a lot of snow,” Managing Editor Sandi Duncan told the Associated Press. “On the East and West coasts, it’s going to be a little milder. Not to say it’s going to be a mild short winter, but it’ll be milder compared to the middle of the country.”

The almanac, which has been published since 1818, issues annual forecasts using a formula based on sunspots, planetary positions and the effects of the moon.

This winter will be cool and snowy in the Northeast, bitterly cold and dry in the Great Lakes states, and cold and snowy across the North Central states. The almanac predicts the Northwest will be cool with average precipitation, the Southwest will be mild and dry, the South Central states will be cold and wet, and the Southeast will be mild and dry.

How have past predictions by the almanac borne out? Judge for yourself.