Farmers' Almanac offers winter forecast; 'Not so fast,' NWS says

The upcoming winter will get off to a mild start before taking a turn in January. February will see much of the East and Midwest slammed by a 'whopper' of a snowstorm. That's according to the Farmers' Almanac. The National Weather Service doesn't necessarily agree. (Star file photo)

The upcoming winter will get off to a mild start before taking a turn in January. February will see much of the East and Midwest slammed by a 'whopper' of a snowstorm. That's according to the Farmers' Almanac. The National Weather Service doesn't necessarily agree. (Star file photo)

The upcoming winter will get off to a mild start before taking a turn in January, when falling temperatures as well as rain, ice, sleet and snow arrive. February will see much of the East and Midwest slammed by a “whopper” of a snowstorm. March will go out like a lion, as a huge winter storm again hammers the Midwest.

At least that’s what Caleb Weatherbee says.

“Who in the heck is Caleb Weatherbee?” you might ask.

Well, “Caleb Weatherbee” is the pseudonym given to the meteorological soothsayer who crafts the annual Farmers’ Almanac weather forecasts.

Farmers’ Almanac editors said the pseudonym is necessary to protect the secrecy surrounding the special formula used to craft their weather forecasts, which are made two years in advance. The formula was allegedly developed by a scientist in 1818 and uses a mishmash of mathematics and astronomy to concoct its predictions.

The winter of 2022 will feature an average amount of snowfall and slightly below-average temperatures, according to the almanac’s forecast.

Well, what does the National Weather Service have to say about all of this? After all, the Farmers’ Almanac throws some shade on the NWS, boasting on its website that it has been providing weather forecasts longer that the National Weather Service and foregoes the use of computer satellite tracking equipment.

Apparently, the NWS chooses to take the high road, declining to offer an opinion on the Farmers’ Almanac forecast.

“We don’t really comment about that,” NWS meteorologist Kyle Klein said.

Klein, who works out of the National Weather Service office in Oakland County’s White Lake, said the NWS relies on hard data and careful analysis when formulating its forecasts.

National Weather Service winter forecasts, provided by the Climate Prediction Center, usually come out a month or two before winter begins, sometime between September and November. He said small deviations in atmospheric and other climate-related conditions, such as El Nino, can have a big impact on longer-range forecasts.

The Climate Prediction Center is a United States federal agency that is one of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which are a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. CPC is headquartered in College Park, Maryland.