This week, the 2014 Farmers’ Almanac hits store shelves. My first thought is, do people still buy these things? I don’t buy one, but I am given one for my birthday from a family member every year. As a meteorologist, I always like to know what other people are saying about the weather. Below is an image from the Farmers’ Almanac website with their forecast for this winter.
For Texas, it says frosty and unusually wet. Now before you get too excited thinking that the drought will end or that kids will be staying home from school a lot more, lets look at a few facts.
1) Seasonal forecast, such as the Farmers’ Almanac, are rarely that accurate. It is hard enough to forecast for the next seven days, let alone the next several months!
2) The editors of the Farmers’ Almanac are not meteorologists. They say their long range, weather forecast comes from a “top-secret mathematical and astronomical formula, taking sunspot activity, tidal action, the position of the planet, and many other factors into consideration.”
3) A key factor to look at for seasonal forecasts is El Nino/La Nina. El Nino is when the waters in the central Pacific ocean are warmer than normal, La Nina is when it is colder than normal. We are in the middle of the two, known as a neutral phase. This neutral phase is expected to last into next Spring 2014. What does that mean for the winter? It is a crap shoot! During neutral phases, anything and everything can happen.
4) Weather is extreme! It may be 100 degrees one week, and freezing cold the next. However, when you balance the two out, you will see the weather stays pretty average over long terms.
One more thing to note before I end this post. The managing editor, Sandi Duncan, was quoted in an Associated Press article saying, “It really looks like the Super Bowl may be the Storm Bowl.” Calling for bitterly cold and wintry weather on Feb. 2nd in the northeast. If you believe that, I have some ocean front property to sell you.