Farmers’ Almanac predicts ‘polar coaster’ of a winter for DC area

farmers' almanac
The Farmers’ Almanac released its prediction for the 2019-2020 winter season. (Courtesy Farmers’ Almanac)

The 2020 Farmers’ Almanac predicts that winter in the D.C. area will include colder-than-normal temperatures, above-average precipitation and lots of “F” words: “freezing, frigid and frosty.”

“We are saying that this winter is going to be filled with thrills and chills,” said Farmers’ Almanac managing editor Sandi Duncan. “We’re actually calling it a polar coaster winter ahead.”

Roller-coaster-like fluctuations on the thermometer are expected to include more lows than highs. “Which, of course, in your neck of the woods, could mean a wintry mix of mess, ice, snow, rain,” Duncan said.

She said it will take a while for the worst of winter cold to arrive, but the Farmers’ Almanac is red-flagging Jan. 4-7 and Jan. 12-15 for precipitation.

For the end of January into February, the almanac is predicting an arctic blast.

As for the fall and winter holidays, the Farmers’ Almanac believes Halloween and Thanksgiving might be “kind of stormy.” As for Christmas, expect it to be wet.

The Farmers’ Almanac has been issuing long-range weather predictions since 1818 based on an astronomical and mathematical formula that applies observations about things such as sun spot activity, tidal action of the moon and planetary positions.

Critics such as Storm Team 4 meteorologist Amelia Draper, however, point out that the predictions are not science.

Draper believes the almanac has useful information related to moon phases and sunset times, but advises against using almanac weather predictions to plan vacations, or your wedding.

“The predictions are nothing to take seriously,” Draper said. “That would be like believing the groundhog for an early spring or longer winter.”

Touting the 2019 almanac’s accuracy, Duncan notes that it called for January snowstorms between Jan. 8-11 and Jan. 12-15 in 2019. And D.C. got a storm on Jan. 13.

For February 2019, the almanac called for a Presidents Day weekend storm that would be followed by snow and, sure enough, came winter storm Petra.

The forecast for March 4-7, 2019, was for an East Coast storm that would bring gusty winds, moderate to heavy precipitation with heavy rains and snows for New England and lesser amounts to the south — which was what actually happened.

Beyond weather, the 2020 Farmers’ Almanac includes articles on natural remedies, what bugs are safe and tasty to eat, how animals survive extreme weather, ways to melt ice more naturally, life hacks and gardening tips.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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