As a nasty storm, dubbed “Pax” by the Weather Channel, tears its way up the East Coast of the United States, the Farmers’ Almanac staff is nonplussed. We foresaw this storm nearly two years ago.
As of yesterday morning, heavy snow, punishing wind, and thick ice crippled the Southeastern U.S. In some areas, as much as a half an inch of ice encased the region, stranding commuters and leaving more than 93,000 customers from Alabama to North Carolina without power.
The storm moved into the Mid-Atlantic region on Wednesday afternoon before heading to New England, where it is expected to dump up to 18 inches in parts of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, where our headquarters is located, later this afternoon.
In an early Wednesday memo, the National Weather Service called the storm “an event of historical proportions,” noting that the ice, especially, would be “catastrophic … crippling … paralyzing … choose your adjective.”
In our 2014 edition, which hit newsstands last August, but was compiled during the fall of 2012, we warned that a major storm would move through the Appalachian Mountain region, bringing a wintry mix and potential flooding. On the outskirts of the storm, the publication predicted cold and heavy precipitation.
Unlike local meteorologists, who are able to change their predictions minute-by-minute, we are willing to go out on a limb and provide long-range forecasts that are set in stone from the day we publish.
People use our forecasts in ways that aren’t possible with a daily, or even 10-day, forecast. We get calls from municipalities trying to decide how much salt to buy for the roads, and from brides-to-be hoping to pick a sunny date for their big day.
This week’s storm is just the latest development in what has proven to be one of the coldest winters in recent memory for the eastern half of the United States. The National Weather Service reports that this winter has been the coldest of the 21st Century in many regions, and colder than any in more than 30 years for some.
Those reports are consistent with our long-range forecast, which warned in August that “the ‘days of shivery’ are back.” In our seasonal outlook for the coming winter, we predicted “a winter that will experience below average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation. A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England.”
To all of you who live in the path of the storm, keep warm and get your shovels out!