The blizzard conditions that have clobbered the Mid-Atlantic states over the past week or so, bringing things to a standstill in many areas, was no surprise to us here at the Farmers’ Almanac. Two years ago, when our long-range prognosticator, Caleb Weatherbee sat down to create our forecast for 2010, he predicted that a blizzard would pound the Northeastern part of the country sometime this month. Mother Nature came through and delivered one, though perhaps a little off schedule.
Our forecast called for the storm to strike between February 12 and 15th, and for the blizzard conditions to hit New England, as well as the Middle Atlantic region. The storm came a few days earlier than predicted and, so far, northern New England has escaped the worst of this storm system, which has instead vented some of its fury on Southern states unaccustomed to snowfall. One reason for the slight discrepancy is the strong El Niño that has settled in North America over the last several months. The Farmers’ Almanac long-range forecast doesn’t factor in El Niño systems, which are famously unpredictable. During El Niño years, typically cold areas, such as New England, the upper Midwest, and much of Canada, see a warmer, drier winter, while Southern states experience colder, wetter conditions than normal. This pattern is pretty consistent with what this winter has shown us, so far.
So what can you expect for the rest of the season? The 2010 Farmers’ Almanac forewarned of two major snowstorms in the Northeast during February. This week, there is another storm predicted for the Northeast. Whether this, too, will be thrown off course by the unusually strong El Niño remains to be seen.
Those who don’t care for wintry weather might not care for what the Farmers’ Almanac has to say regarding the rest of the winter. The 2010 forecast warns of frequent stormy weather into March, with heavy rains and wet snows, for much of North America. In fact, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts that the coming days and weeks will see at least three-quarters of the nation enduring unseasonably cold weather, with only the far western US experiencing near or above normal temperatures.
Be sure to check out the Farmers’ Almanac long-range forecast to see specific predictions for your region.