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Almanac again foresees bitter winter

– The folks at the Farmers’ Almanac can be forgiven for feeling smug: The 198-year-old publication correctly predicted the past nasty winter while federal forecasters blew it.

Memories of the polar vortex and relentless snowstorms won’t soon be forgotten. And the editors of the publication are predicting more of the same for the coming season.

“Shivery and shovelry are back. We’re calling for some frigid conditions, bitter conditions,” said managing editor Sandi Duncan.

The latest edition, which officially goes on sale this week, forecasts colder-than-normal and wetter-than-usual weather for three-quarters of the country east of the Rocky Mountains. Drought-stricken California, along with the Pacific Northwest, will see normal precipitation and cool temperatures this winter, the almanac said.

The publication uses a secret formula based on sunspots, planetary positions and lunar cycles for its long-range weather forecasts.

Modern science doesn’t put much stock in the formula. But even meteorologists can stumble on long-term forecasts. The national Climate Prediction Center forecast a strong likelihood of above-normal temperatures from last November through January.

“Not one of our better forecasts,” Mike Halpert, the Climate Prediction Center’s acting director, said at the time. Of the Farmers’ Almanac, he said, “Good for them if they got it right last year, and I’ll leave it at that.”

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