MISSOULA, Mont. - Its been in existence for over 200 years, and this year it is predicting a brutal winter. The 2014 Old Farmers Almanac was put on store shelves Tuesday. Inside it tracks the heavens, predicts the long term weather and provides helpful advice for agricultural pursuits.
This year the Almanac is forecasting a colder and snowier winter than average for western Montana. The 2014 edition begins in November and offers forecasts for each week for 16 regions across the country. Western Montana is in region 13, which stretches from the Canadian border to Flagstaff, Arizona. This is an enormous area comprising parts of 11 states. With that in mind, the forecasts should be taken with a grain of salt, especially in mountainous areas. Varied terrain and local climates can complicate matters. However, the basis behind the Almanac's forecast is based in sound science using real long term weather and solar cycles.
The September 2013 forecast, found in the 2013 Old Farmers Almanac and online, is currently not doing well in our region. Western Montana has had average temperatures this month at least 5 degrees above normal. The Almanac forecast 2 degrees below normal. In the same vein, the almanac called it right that we would have a storm system between September 4 and 14. The cool temperatures it called for during the same period only lasted a couple of days, and we will remain hotter than average through September 14.
The validity of long-range forecasts -- those looking more than a few weeks ahead -- can be questionable. The First Alert Weather team argues for a persistent forecast, meaning temperatures will be near to slightly above average, just like they have been for most of the summer.