With the Labor Day weekend past, and with it the traditional end of summer, the editor of the Farmers Almanac is looking into the future and forecasting what he calls a “polar coaster” of a winter, with plenty of frigid temperatures and snow for a majority of the country.
“Freezing, frigid and frosty” are three words Peter Geiger used to describe the upcoming season, especially for areas east of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians, with extreme temperatures swings and some hefty snowfalls.
“What we mean by a polar coaster is the weather is going to be up and down,” he told The Times-Gazette. “We think it’s going to be frozen and snowy for the Great Lakes and Midwest.”
He said all of southwest Ohio should see the first indications of the polar coaster in mid-November with the appearance of chilly rains or wet snow, with December predicted to see more of the same, but turning sharply colder.
With the arrival of a new year, the almanac is forecasting three major storms that will usher in what Geiger calls “frigidly cold” temperatures that will drift down from Canada.
“We think the last week of January through the first week of February will be the coldest,” he said.
Even though the vernal equinox is supposed to herald the arrival of spring, Geiger said the almanac has predictions of two to five inches of snow for the middle of March.
“Overall, we think it will be a colder than normal winter with above normal precipitation,” he said. “And we think the cold weather will last longer than normal as well, probably well into April before folks begin to feel like maybe winter is over and that spring will finally arrive.”
Even though the upcoming winter weather predictions were formulated nearly two years ago, he said the almanac’s forecast was about 80 percent correct nationwide last year, and that there is a scientific methodology employed in its forecasting.
“In the early 1800s, the first almanac editor was a farmer, a mathematician and an astronomer,” Geiger said. “He wanted to predict the weather for farmers and developed a mathematical formula that looked at sunspot activity, planetary positions and the effect that the moon has on the earth.”
He said that over the course of the history of the publication, the weather predictions it made were originally intended for the New Jersey region, but grew into forecasts for all of North America.
There have been only seven people who worked the meteorological formula over the past two centuries, Geiger said, and each of them took the formula and adapted it to the broad geography of the nation.
In addition to all the weather and astronomical facts, he said there are also fun articles such as the top 10 bugs you can eat; new and clever uses for balloons, sleds and wine corks; and the ever-popular natural remedies.
Geiger said people can read the weather predictions for the “polar coaster,” plus more fascinating and intriguing facts, by buying a copy of the 2020 edition, which is now in its 203nd year, and by visiting the 2020 almanac online at farmersalmanac.com.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.