Hurricanes May Be Winding Down, But Look Out for Winter
The bad news is, winter is right around the corner. And that means winter storms are on the way.
I’m not going to pretend I know how bad it will get. But if recent years and the Farmers’ Almanac are indications, we could be in for another rough ride.
It Was a ‘Polar Coaster’ Winter
Before I get into what we can anticipate for the upcoming winter, let’s take a brief look at what we faced in 2019.
The Farmers’ Almanac forecasted a “Polar Coaster” winter for the U.S. in 2019-20. By that they meant the thermometer would be bouncing up and down like an amusement park ride.
They certainly nailed that prediction. There were plenty of frigid days in the Midwest and Northeast, but also some unusually high temps.
Overall though, the southern half of the country had a pretty mild winter. Thanks to what meteorologists call the Arctic Oscillation.
Polar Vortex Is Unwelcome Guest
Without going into details, Arctic Oscillation means the polar vortex stays up in the Arctic. Just where we like it to remain.
That was very different from the 2018-19 winter. That’s when the polar vortex plunged to the south and left the Midwest and Northeast shivering for a couple of weeks.
But last winter still had its share of bone-chilling weather. In mid-February, the Ohio River Valley experienced brutally cold temperatures. Readings dropped to minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
In Preston, Minnesota, the temperature plummeted to minus-35 degrees to establish a record.
The Farmers’ Almanac also predicted plenty of winter moisture for the eastern portion of the country last winter.
Again, that came to pass. All the way from the Southeast to the Great Lakes region. Alabama and Georgia had their wettest winters on record.
South Carolina experienced its second wettest winter. Mississippi saw heavy rains in mid-January, causing flash flooding.
The Deep South also got slammed with snow. Jayton, Texas received 14 inches of the white stuff in early February. Even Austin, Texas got hit with snow.
Moving back north, much of the Rockies, northern Plains and western Great Lakes had average to above-average snowfall.
What About 2020-21?
OK, enough about last year’s weather. What’s on the horizon for the 2020-21 winter?
Nobody knows for sure. But the Farmers’ Almanac calls for winter to return with a vengeance. They predict brutal cold and snow for much of the country.
Peter Geiger is the publication’s editor. He says, “Based on our time-tested weather formula, the forecast for the upcoming winter looks a lot different from last year. Quite divided, with some very intense cold snaps and snowfall.”
They are calling for extended bouts of cold in the northern half of the nation. The prediction is for normal to below-normal temps in certain areas. Such as from the Great Lakes and Midwest to the northern and central Plains, and into the Rockies.
Let It Snow
Above-normal snowfall is prognosticated for farther west. Including the western Dakotas and northern portions of Colorado and Utah.
As well as in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. And the central and eastern sections of Washington and Oregon.
The Northeast had below average snowfall last winter. But that could change in a big way this winter.
The Almanac forecasts a blizzard in February and significant late-season snowfall in March.
Dry Here, Wet There
Dry conditions and mild temperatures are predicted for the Southwest. That would be a good news forecast for the north, but bad news if you’re in a drought like the Southwest is.
A rainy winter is expected along the West Coast, which should help their dry landscape.
A wintry mix could be on the way for the Tennessee River Valley, the Ohio River Valley and even New England.
The Farmers’ Almanac bases its long-range forecasts on a mathematical and astronomical formula. It was developed in 1818.
AccuWeather Basically Agrees
Of course, the Farmers’ Almanac is not the only source for long-range weather forecasts. AccuWeather chimes in here as well.
They believe the Northeast will experience a relatively mild winter with normal snow amounts. But cold and snowy conditions will be the “bookends” for that mildness.
AccuWeather also calls for bitter spells of wintry weather in the Midwest. Especially during winter’s second half. Minnesota could see higher than average snowfall.
In the Southeast, the first half of winter might be the coldest. With temperatures warming after that.
The middle section of the U.S. could see some big temperature swings. This would bring plenty of snow to Iowa, the Dakotas and Nebraska. Precipitation on the West Coast will help drought conditions, but no such luck in the Southwest.
One Way to Have Peace of Mind
So, what do winter forecasts mean for people like us? Basically, they mean one thing: be prepared.
Be prepared for the worst and you’ll be fine no matter what happens. Stockpile plenty of survival food and have back-up power available.
And don’t forget your other emergency supplies. Including flashlights and a fully stocked bug-out bag.
Because the only way to achieve peace of mind is by being ready for whatever life throws at you.