What should Hoosiers expect this winter? Almanacs split on brutally cold vs. mild weather

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Every year, the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac take their best shot at predicting the upcoming winter.

For winter 2018-2019, the two publications seem to be at odds, with one calling for a brutal winter and the other predicting a milder outlook.

The Farmers’ Almanac bases its long-range forecast on a mathematical and astronomical formula first developed in 1818. For winter 2018-2019, the almanac projects above-normal precipitation for the Midwest, Great Lakes states and central and northern New England. The majority of the snowfall is expected in January and February.

Indiana is firmly in the “biting cold, snowy” zone in the prediction map. And if you’re wondering about how long winter will last, expect wintry weather through the official start of spring (that’s especially true for the East Coast).

As for the Pacific Northwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic States, the almanac sees an unusually snowy/wet winter with the thermometer hovering around the freezing mark, leading to some ice, rain or freezing rain. In the Southwest, the almanac expects above-normal precipitation in December while the Southeast will see more precipitation in January and February.

Overall, the Farmers’ Almanac projects a bitterly cold winter for Indiana in which you’ll need to keep a snow shovel handy.

But that’s not the only weather prediction out there!

If you’re looking for a second opinion, you can turn to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. That guide, founded in 1792, expects above-normal precipitation for most of the country. However, that almanac also forecasts above-normal temperatures this winter.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac puts Indiana firmly in the “warm, wet” category. The milder forecast is due to “a decrease in solar activity and the expected arrival of a weak El Niño” that will stop cold air from sticking around. Instead of snow, the almanac predicts more rain for Indiana during the winter months.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s long-range forecast comes from a “secret formula” developed in 1792. The publication says notes about that formula are kept in a “black box” in Dublin, New Hampshire. It has been tweaked over the years as technology has developed.

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