A Farmers’ Almanac forecast formula used for hundreds of years is predicting winter whiplash weather as the final months of 2021 find traction into 2022.
The D.C. region is split between the almanac’s Northeast and Southeast forecast zones, which can make its prognostications tricky.
“The Farmers’ Almanac is saying it’s going to be a frosty flip-flop winter,” managing editor Sandi Duncan said. “And by that, we mean there’s going to be tons of back and forth, back and forth.”
Overall, typical winter chilliness will usher in a stormy January and a tranquil February.
“It doesn’t look like there’s going to be anything too bad as far as snow goes, but it looks like January is going to start out mild, but then it’s going to get very stormy,” Duncan said.
“February is more the cold month, a lot less stormy, a lot less precipitation until the end of the month, when there’s a wintry mix on tap for your area.”
March isn’t expected to be over the top with precipitation.
“Unfortunately, when spring comes and it arrives on the calendar and everybody wanted to get warmer, we do see a pretty big ice, rain, possible wet snow at the end of March. Kind of as if to say … Mother Nature’s not done with winter,” Duncan said.
The Farmers’ Almanac long range predictions are based on a formula that dates back to 1818. It was created by the founding editor’s use of sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon, position of the planets and many other factors.
Evaluating the accuracy of last winter’s forecast, Duncan said there were hits and misses.
“We had predicted it’d be quite stormy, especially in the New York, Mid-Atlantic states last February. And then we were off a little bit in other areas. But I’d say that I’d give us a B plus, maybe a B minus,” she said.
The Almanac makes monthly weather predictions, but Duncan said winter seems to be an especially important season for people who are looking to either plan vacations away from the snow — or go toward the snow.
A feature in this year’s Farmers’ Almanac is weather folklore that suggests future outcomes based on the natural world. One involves persimmons. Cut one open to retrieve the seeds and they could look like a fork, a spoon or a knife.
“Supposedly, according to weather lore, if the seed has a fork shape, the winter will be mild. If there’s a spoon shape, there will be a lot of snow on top. And if there’s a knife shape, winter will be very cold and cut like a knife,” Duncan said.
Emphasizing that the almanac doesn’t use folklore for forecasting, Duncan said it can be kind of fun, “So, if you can get your hands on a local locally grown persimmon and check it out, it would be fun to hear what it says.”