By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to face the realities of the calendar and know that summertime is quickly slipping away. It’s why Tavarris Stewart and his daughter Jaylin, are getting in another bike ride.

“It feels great, feels great to get out here and enjoy the weather even though it’s raining. You’ve got to take advantage while you can,” Stewart said.

But now comes that ever faithful foreteller of winter weather, the Old Farmer’s Almanac telling us to brace for a bad one. The journal is predicting a particularly harsh winter for the Midwest in general.

“I guess we’ll just have to find ways to keep busy, that’s what we always do,” Margie Snyder said.

Looks like Snyder and everyone else will be busy shoveling. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the 2019-20 winter forecast expects the Midwest to get a “parade of snowstorms.”

“Part of the problem is they have a secret formula and I guess I don’t know what that is,” chuckles assistant state climatologist, Pete Boulay.

Boulay is responsible for measuring each snowfall outside his University of Minnesota office and he admits he’s a bit skeptical in the magazine’s long term outlook.

“If you make a forecast and it includes the region from Montana to Michigan, Colorado to Missouri and you say it will be winter somewhere in there, they’ll be right,” Boulay said.

The magazine is predicting no fewer than seven major snowstorms across the country. And it claims an accuracy rate of 85.5%.

“I like to play in it, but I don’t like being cold in it,” Jaylin Snyder said.

As if that snow prediction isn’t bad enough, the Old Farmer’s Almanac expects those conditions to last well into next spring, making it feel like, once again, a never-ending winter.

“This could feel like the never-ending winter, particularly in the Midwest and east to the Ohio Valley and Appalachians, where wintery weather will last well into March and even through the first days of spring,” Almanac editor Janice Stillman said.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the heartland can expect below-average temperatures this winter, as can the Pacific coast.

“The cold will continue through Valentine’s Day—providing the perfect excuse to stay indoors and snuggle! But be warned: Winter will not be over yet!” the Almanac claims.

For the folks who track our state’s climatological data, there is a healthy bit of skepticism. NOAA’s climate prediction center points to a “neutral” position on cold and snow.

“It just goes to show you anything can happen in winter, and in the Farmers Almanac they can have it right both ways. You could have said last winter was almost a non-winter into the middle of January. Then we had as much winter as you could pack into a two-month period after that,” Boulay said.

If there is any consolation in this, remember last year’s prediction was for a warmer and drier winter across Minnesota. In fact, we had one of our snowiest, with blasts lasting well into April.

Bill Hudson

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