What to Expect This Winter

Today, September 23rd, marks the first day of fall. As much as most of us don’t like to think about it, we all know what happens as the days start getting shorter and colder–winter!

For most of the U.S., last winter ushered in wide swaths of snow and bitterly cold temperatures. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we should expect the same for the coming year. Many depend on the Almanac’s forecasts while others relegate them to myth status. Either way, it’s commonly believed that the Almanac provides accurate info approximately 80% of the time. Not good enough for you? Yep, that’s a pretty roomy margin for error, but wouldn’t you rather get a sneak peak of the possibilities than be totally clueless?

Almanac experts estimate weather patterns based on these criteria: “We employ three scientific disciplines to make our long-range predictions: solar science, the study of sunspots and other solar activity; climatology, the study of prevailing weather patterns; and meteorology, the study of the atmosphere.” Without further ado, here’s what to expect for the upcoming winter (kind of?).

Official 2016 Winter Outlook from the Farmer’s Almanac

The winter of 2015–2016 looks a lot like last winter, at least in terms of temperatures with unseasonably cold conditions over the Atlantic Seaboard, eastern portions of the Great Lakes, and the lower peninsula of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, most of the Tennessee and Mississippi Valley, as well as much of the Gulf Coast.

-New Englanders will once again experience a very nasty winter.

-Much of the central United States will see pretty standard winter temperatures. This includes the western and central Great Lakes, the upper peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and most of the Great Plains.

-In these areas, nature will mix intervals of unseasonably mild temperatures with occasional shots of bitter cold.

-Texas and the other South Central States will see a cool to cold winter, but nothing too extreme.

-Farther west, over the Rockies, the Colorado Plateau, Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest States, milder than normal temperatures are expected.

-If you like snow, then you should head out to the northern and central Great Plains (most of the North Central States), the Great Lakes, New England, and parts of the Ohio Valley where snowier-than-normal conditions are forecast.

-Over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, the winter will be stormy with a good amount of snow. We are “red-flagging” the second week of January and the second week of February for possible heavy winter weather with a long, drawn out spell of stormy weather extending through much of the first half of March.

-An active storm track will bring above-normal precipitation to the Southeast States, as well as the Mississippi Valley, Southern Great Plains, the Gulf Coast, and along the Atlantic Seaboard.

-Another area of above-normal precipitation (thanks to incoming storms from the Pacific) will cover much of the Pacific Northwest.

-Near-to-below normal winter precipitation will cover the rest of the country, which includes much of the drought-stricken areas in the Southwest.

Do you believe the Old Farmer’s Almanac? (If you read this far, you must take some stock in it.) Or will you wait til you hear the weather from the five-day forecast? The bottom line is, if we’re (at least 80%) correct–get ready for weather-related traffic delays. 

It’s inevitable: Winter is coming, and we want you to learn how to stay safe before the first snowflake hits the ground. Check out this blog for info about traveling during snow season. 

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