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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Dreaming of a white Christmas?

Lewiston, Maine — Dreaming of a white Christmas? According to the world-famous Farmers’ Almanac, many Americans just may get that wish this year.

One of the most common questions the editors of the Farmers’ Almanac field each year is whether or not a given location will have a white Christmas. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the overall chances of a white Christmas are statistically quite slim for most areas of the United States. Mid-Atlantic cities like New York City and Philadelphia get snow on Christmas only about 10 percent of the time, while Bostonians see snow on Christmas less than 23 percent of the time, and even snowy locales like Chicago and Denver stand only a 50 percent chance of having a white Christmas.

Though winter officially begins on Monday, December 21, some areas have already seen their share of wintry weather, with icy temperatures and heavy snow descending earlier than usual along portions of the East Coast and central Plains. The 2010 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac’s frigid forecast for the rest of the season offers no respite in sight, especially for states in the center of the country. While that prognosis may sound bleak to some, the good news is that a white Christmas may be on tap for many regions this year, including New England, the Great Lakes, Plains states and the Rocky Mountains.

“Old Man Winter’s grip will be tight this winter, but that hold will be mostly isolated on the middle of the country. This colder area at the center of the country will act like the ice-cold filling sandwiched between the relatively warmer coastal regions,” says Peter Geiger, Philom., editor of the 193-year-old publication.

“Very cold and bitterly cold” is how the Farmers’ Almanac describes the winter in the Great Lakes, Plains, and South Central states, while temperatures on the East and West Coasts will be more in line with average to normal winter conditions. For residents of the East Coast, who bore most of the brunt of last winter’s fury, this may be good news, but the prediction of an “ice cold sandwich” is sure to send chills down the spines of Midwesterners.

The Farmers’ Almanac is calling for heavy snow in the Great Lakes and Plains regions this winter, with a rainy season in the South, and close to normal precipitation in most other regions of the country.

While nearly three-quarters of the country is expected to see near or below average precipitation this winter, significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone. Residents of Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states can expect some a major snowfall in mid-February, with possible blizzard conditions in New England.

“People on the coasts shouldn’t think they’re off the hook just because we’re predicting milder winter weather for them. Shovelry is most certainly not dead,” warns Geiger.

The Farmers’ Almanac bases its long-range weather forecasts on a top-secret mathematical and astronomical formula that figures in sunspot activity, tidal action, the position of the planet in relation to the Sun, as well as a number of other factors. Faithful readers of the Farmers’ Almanac estimate that its annual weather forecast is accurate between 80 and 85 percent of the time.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.