A White Christmas?

    The 2016 version of the almanac, calls for above-normal snow and below-normal temperatures for much of New England; icy conditions in parts of the South; frigid weather in the Midwest – and some snow in the Northwest.

    The snowiest periods in the Pacific Northwest will be in mid-December, early to mid-January and mid- to late February, the almanac predicts.

    “Just about everybody who gets snow will have a White Christmas in one capacity or another,” editor Janice Stillman said from Dublin, New Hampshire, where the almanac is compiled.

    The almanac says there will be above normal-rainfall in the first half of the winter in California, but then that will dry up and the drought is expected to continue. “We don’t expect a whole lot of relief,” Stillman said.

    The weather predictions are based on a secret formula that founder Robert B. Thomas designed in the 1700s using solar cycles, climatology and meteorology.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – which uses much more scientific techniques – is forecasting a 70 percent chance of a warmer-than-normal winter in most of Washington state and a 60 percent chance for the rest of the Pacific Northwest. NOAA also predicts that precipitation is likely to be normal or possibly slightly below normal across the Northwest.

    That government forecast is in keeping with observations that the current El Nino could become the strongest one ever recorded by this winter. And a strong El Nino usually brings warmer and drier winter weather to Washington state – although it’s no guarantee.

    “A big El Nino guarantees nothing,” says Mike Halper, deputy director of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

    So, who knows – maybe the Old Farmer’s Almanac is onto something.

    The 224-year-old almanac, believed to be the oldest continually published periodical in North America, is 26 years older than its closest competitor.

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