We’re a hopeful bunch, us skiers and snowboarders, and maybe a little superstitious. Living in ski resorts worldwide, I’ve heard everything from the high number of berries on a rowan tree to fog in August indicative of “the best winter for a decade.” We spend our summers looking for signs that our winter will be knee-deep and we’ll be shredding the powder, but for winter 23/24, the strongest indication is now here: it’s not the berries.
The 2024 Farmers’ Almanac will be released soon, including what they claim to be their renowned 80% accurate weather forecast. While the outlook might not be favorable for farmers, it’s good news for all of us looking forward to a winter of ski and snowboard action. Winter 2023/2024 is looking set to be another incredible season of snow. Here’s what the Almanac is lining us up for.
In short, it is cold and filled with precipitation. The Farmers’ Almanac uses various information to create its forecasts. Though the exact ‘how’ is kept a secret, the forecast allegedly uses sunspots and the tidal action of the moon to predict the long-range forecast accurately. This year, the Almanac also takes note of the building El Nino phenomenon, which is indicative of cold and snow-filled winters.
While the Almanac does consider the El Nino event’s impact on winter, the weather patterns predicted are only partially aligned with the typical El Nino event. Here’s a rundown of what the Almanac is suggesting:
The East Coast will likely experience a much colder, wetter winter than last year. The most substantial likelihood of reliable snow is in the northeast, though those in the southeast and Florida could still see cold temperatures and even frosts.
While northern central areas are looking ahead to a relatively typical winter — in terms of snowfall at least — those further south might be in for a wild time. Unseasonably cold temperatures and storms associated with the El Nino weather front could rock areas of Texas and surrounding regions.
Conditions out west are hanging in the balance of El Nino. If this event comes in, it’s looking like it could be another unusually snowy winter. Wet and white are the watchwords for winter out west.
The Almanac claims to be 80% accurate, though they state in their reflection of winter 22/23 that they were slightly off the mark at just 70% accuracy. There are those out there who doubt the accuracy of the Almanac, with a study from the University of Illinois suggesting that the Almanac had a reliability rate of just less than 52% — a percentage described as ‘no more than random chance.
The Almanac relies heavily on historical data, which is prone to skewing when we consider the effects of climate change on winters and the ski industry. We won’t know for sure until this winter kicks into gear. Will the Almanac’s indications prove true? I’m putting more faith in this than I am in the berries, that’s for sure.
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