Finger on the Weather

Farmers’ Almanac calls for unusually cold winter in Kansas

Courtesy photo

The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting an unusually cold winter for the eastern two-thirds of the country, including the Great Plains.

Snowfall for the heartland will be about average, projects the venerable publication, which is marking its 200th year.

“Exceptionally cold, if not downright frigid weather will predominate over parts of the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley, the Middle Atlantic, Northeast, and New England this winter,” it says.

But before you bet the farm – or the family business – on the almanac’s winter forecast, keep this in mind: The publication predicted a “very snowy” winter for Kansas with “typical winter cold” last year.

What actually happened?

Wichita logged 3.5 inches of snow one day in late March, which amounted to more than three times the combined snowfall total of the previous four months. Temperatures were above normal from November through March, with several of those months logging well-above-average readings.

Jan Null, a certified consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Service, has said research shows the almanac is accurate 20 percent to 30 percent of the time.

The Climate Prediction Center, meanwhile, is predicting average temperatures for roughly 75 percent of the state and slightly above normal for the southwestern corner. Precipitation will be below normal for all but the northeast third and a sliver of southeast Kansas.

Bear in mind, however, that winter is still more than three months away.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger