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Chiberia 2.0? Almanac Predicts Colder Than Average Winter

By Quinn Ford | August 22, 2014 5:41am
 The Old Farmer's Almanac, which released its new edition Wednesday, is predicting a colder than average winter in Chicago.
The Old Farmer's Almanac, which released its new edition Wednesday, is predicting a colder than average winter in Chicago.
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Brett Jelinek

CHICAGO — Don't pawn your parkas or snow shovels, Chicago.

If the mild summer has not been a bummer, a forecast from the newest edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac might do the trick.

The 2015 edition of the almanac, released on Wednesday, predicts a colder and snowier winter than usual for the Windy City.

Quinn Ford might ruin your Friday with why some think it'll be another cold winter:

"Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but again winter is going to be colder than normal with above-average snowfall," said Sarah Perrault, a senior associate editor for the almanac.

Perrault said the outlook does not necessarily mean this winter will be worse than last year's, but it will be worse than normal, which is based on average temperatures over the last 30 years.

For example, Perrault said the average temperature for December is 28 degrees, and the almanac is predicting this winter's average temperatures will be about 4 degrees below that.

In case the summer warmth has caused some Chicagoans to forget, last year's winter was one of the worst the city has ever endured. December to March was the coldest four-month period ever recorded, with an average temperature of 22 degrees and more than 80 inches of snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Most of the country, with the exception of the West Coast, is expected to see a colder than average winter. Perrault calls it a "refriger-nation" effect, to "remind everybody that it's going to be cold like a refrigerator across the nation."

So should Chicagoans begin preparing for Chiberia 2.0?

"I think that's a little premature, but you should definitely go shopping for a new down parka, maybe some new boots and a shovel," Perrault said.

There is a silver lining: The almanac is predicting a warmer than average next year for the Lower Lakes Region, which includes Chicago.

The New Hampshire-based almanac develops its weather forecast through a "secret formula" devised in 1792 by its founder, Robert B. Thomas, who believed the planet's weather is influenced by magnetic storms on the surface of the sun.

Today, the almanac still uses solar science but also employs climatology and meteorology to come up with long-range predictions.

In addition to weather predictions, the popular almanac also contains tide tables, sunrise and planting charts, tips for gardening and information on topics like astronomy, love and home remedies.

Perrault had one tip to share for frustrated motorists dealing with snow.

"We get stuck in snow a lot in New England, so just throw your car mats in front of your tires and you can get out of the place you're stuck," she said.

The Old Farmer's Almanac can be found at bookstores or on its website.

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