What Will Winter Bring? The Old Farmer's Alamanc Knows

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Every year I look forward the new copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac. It's a survivor of a time when people paid more attention to the world around them than a doppler radar.

The combination of "zodiac secrets," planting calendars, advice on livestock and food preservation, not to mention more random tidbits than could fill a season of Jeopardy, is particularly amusing fodder for hours of entertainment.

But, without a doubt, the most interesting—and anticipated—section of the Old Almanac is the weather forecast. The authors of the Almanac use a "secret formula" created by the founder of the Almanac, who believed the Earth is heavily influenced by sun spots.

These days, the forecast still takes solar activity into account but adds scientific weather modeling as well as historic weather trends and cycles. The results are probably not what skiers and assorted winter sports enthusiasts—and farmers for that matter—were hoping for.

According to the Almanac, the winter of 2010-2011 will be warmer and drier than normal in the Intermountain West, especially so in the southern part of the region (Boise falls near the center). The trend will continue through the summer with near-normal temperatures but below normal precipitation.

Since winter weather is what most of us worry about the most, here's the breakdown the Almanac offers:

November 2010: Near normal temperature (40 degrees F daily average) and precipitation (1.5 inches) with more rain to the north and sun to the south (maybe that means partly cloudy in the middle?).

December 2010: Above-average temperature (31 degrees F daily average) and above-average precipitation (2 inches). Expect cold snaps in the middle and end of the month with snow concentrated in the middle of the month.

January 2011: Slightly above-average temperatures (31 degrees F daily average) with below-normal precipitation (.5 inch). The coldest portion of the month will be in the middle with snowy periods scattered throughout.

February 2011: Temperatures will be slightly below-average in the north and above-average in the south, so maybe that means Boise temperatures will be about average (33 degrees F daily average), while precipitation will be below-average (1 inch). Snow/rain showers will be scattered throughout the month.

March 2011: Temperatures will be slightly above-average (43 degrees F daily average) and precipitation will be below-average (.5 inch). Expect rain/snow showers earlier in the month, getting milder near the end (in like a lion, out like a lamb ...).

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