Farmers’ Almanac winter forecast is out, what to really expect

Columbus (WCMH) – The Farmers’ Almanac has been putting out its outlooks for 200 years now, and each year we get plenty of questions about the forecast.  This year is no different.


Below is the outlook from the Farmers’ Almanac for this upcoming Winter 2017-18:

This year, the Farmer’s Almanac has put a colder than normal outlook out for much of the country, especially the eastern half of the country.  Notice on the map, they have a cold forecast for us, and average snowfall.


To compare, here is the outlook from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA:

You can see below, that is it showing a better chance for above normal temperatures for much of the country for the Winter (December – February)

It is also showing near normal precipitation for much of the country during the same time period.



So how did the Farmers’ Almanac 2016-17 Winter forecast turn out?

Not so well….  below is the 2016-17 Winter outlook.  Remember that numbing cold & snowy weather we had?


In fact, when you look at the Winter period (December – February), the lower 48 had the 6th warmest Winter on record, and the 8th wettest.

There were some areas, like in the southwest, that they had the forecast correct.  Then there were other areas, like in the Great Lakes (and many others) where the forecast was a bust.

In fact, the outlook only had one area where they used the word “mild”, and that was the only area of the country that was actually colder than normal.




Bottom line, The Farmers Almanac is fine publication with plenty of useful information.

We usually buy a few copies in the weather center as well.  It is fun to read, but I do not put a lot of stock into these outlooks they put out.  Clearly when you do an outlook for ~100-190 days out, there is going to be a lot of vagueness to the forecast.

It is difficult using the best technology available to tell if we are going to have a White Christmas, or a snowy start to February.  A lot goes into a typical long range forecast including things like El Nino/La Nina patterns.

The official outlook is for us to have a neutral pattern for El Nino/La Nina at this time.   Some things to also consider, with warmer temperatures, the Great Lakes can stay open longer and not iced over as early, spreading out the chance for Lake Effect snowfall events.

At this point, I will agree (partially) with the Farmers Almanac forecast for us this Winter!  It will be colder than last Winter (because last Winter was near record warm), and we should have more snow than we did last year.  This would push us closer to normal for snowfall, but with warmer than normal temperatures again, we should see less snow than normal.

As always, we will give our Winter forecasts for Central/Southern Ohio in the next few weeks as well.   But hey, let’s enjoy the Summer while it is here!!!  We still have 4 months and a week til Christmas 🙂


If you have any questions about climate, forecasts, winter outlooks, or any other weather, email me,

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