'Biting cold and snowy' winter set for Indiana, Farmers' Almanac says

Annual forecast calls for nasty winter

INDIANAPOLIS - If you have faith in the Famers' Almanac winter prediction, this winter will be a doozy for Indiana.

The 197-year-old publication that hit newsstands Monday forecasts "biting cold and snowy" conditions for Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin this winter.

"We are forecasting a winter that will experience below-average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation," said Caleb Weatherbee, Farmers' Almanac prognosticator. "Coldest temperatures will be over the Northern Plains on east into the Great Lakes."

The publication's forecast calls for the combination of colder-than-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation will mean "lots of snow" for the Midwest, Great Lakes and portions of New England.

The Almanac has also pegged the Super Bowl, set for Feb. 2 in New Jersey, as a messy storm bowl.

"We're using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It's going to be very cold," said Sandi Duncan, managing editor.

Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac's secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818.

Modern scientists don't put much stock in sunspots or tidal action, but the almanac says its forecasts used by readers to plan weddings and plant gardens are correct about 80 percent of the time.

Last year, the forecast called for cold weather for the eastern and central U.S. with milder temperatures west of the Great Lakes. It started just the opposite but ended up that way.

Weatherbee said he was off by only a couple of days on two of the season's biggest storms: a February blizzard that paralyzed the Northeast with 3 feet of snow in some places and a sloppy storm the day before spring's arrival that buried parts of New England.

The Maine-based Farmers' Almanac, not to be confused with the New Hampshire-based Old Farmer's Almanac, which will be published next month, features a mix of corny jokes, gardening tips, nostalgia and home remedies, like feeding carrots to dogs to help with bad breath and using mashed bananas to soothe dry, cracked skin in the winter.

Additional winter forecasts from the National Weather Service and Kevin Gregory and the StormTeam 6 team will be made over the next few months.

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