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  • Tim McGill

Peeking Ahead To Winter On A Fabulous Fall Day

So Long Summer

We are in the middle of a streak of fabulous fall weather that should last through Saturday. Mild to warm days with comfortable levels of humidity and cool to mild nights. Let's enjoy it while we can because in the back of our minds we know what is coming. The sun set for the final time of astronomical summer yesterday and today is the first day of astronomical fall. Hope you enjoyed "Chicago-Henge" yesterday.

With that in mind I thought it might be fun to fast forward through fall for an early look at winter. I will have a more detailed post on our winter forecast in a few weeks but a few forecasts are dribbling in already.

Let's start with what I consider to be the least reliable sources for accurate winter forecasts. The Farmers' Almanac and The Old Farmer's Almanac have stuck their necks out early with some prognostications. The placement of apostrophes in their titles isn't the only thing different about them. There are major differences when it comes to their forecasts for the midwest.

Fast Forward To Winter

The Farmers' Almanac above says we can expect a "cold, very flaky" winter while The Old Farmer's Almanac below says "more wet than white this winter".

I will give credit to The Old Farmer's Almanac for providing more free forecast details.

Here is what they are thinking in terms of snowfall:

In the Lower Lakes (Syracuse west along the Great Lakes to Chicago and Milwaukee, most of Michigan, south to Indianapolis), snowfall will be below normal in most areas, with the snowiest periods in early and mid-December, mid- to late-February, and early to mid-March.

Here is what they are thinking in terms of temperatures:

Winter temperatures will be much above normal, on average, despite cold periods in December and January.

All that information is available for perusing without any purchasing on their website. The Farmers' Almanac requires buying their publication for more details. Based on their graphic it appears they are expecting normal to below normal temperatures here and above normal snowfall.

Keep in mind I have yet to see any proof that either one of these sources for winter forecasts has been able to demonstrate real skill at long range forecasting. It is fun though to talk about it and compare the two.

The editors off the Farmers' Almanac say they use a "specific and reliable set of rules developed in 1818" for their forecasts.

"These rules have been altered slightly and turned into a formula that is both mathematical and astronomical. The formula takes into consideration things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, the position of the planets, and a variety of other factors. "

One thing the two publications have in common is that they keep there methods secret. The Old Farmer's Almanac editors say they use 3 disciplines in their long-range predictions.

The National Weather Services latest winter forecast was issued last week. The temperature probability forecast isn't very helpful since it suggests equal chances of above or below average temperatures overall this winter. The precipitation probability forecasts hints at maybe a snowier winter than average. We are outlooked for above average precipitation overall from December through February. That isn't a sure thing for above average snowfall though since if we tip more towards above average temperatures some of that precipitation may come in the form of rain and not snow. The National Weather Service will issue a revised official winter forecast sometime in October.

Warm Through The Weekend

First things first so let's focus on the next seven days and just beyond. We jumped above average yesterday after three straight days below average. We should probably stay above average now right through the weekend.

Today's highs with the help of southwest winds and some sunshine should climb into the middle to upper 70s. Average highs this time of the year are in the lower 70s.

More smoke in our skies today from western wildfires. Look for that milky appearance to the sun once again. The HRRRR vertically integrated smoke forecast has smoke stretching from the west coast through the midwest and all the way into southeastern Canada. Smoke even gets wrapped into the circulation of tropical storm Beta in eastern Texas.

While it will be relatively warm through the weekend there could be a cool change coming for the start of October. Both the 6-10 day and 8-14 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for below average temperatures overall from September 27th through October 5th.

Rain Free For Next Five Days

Today will be the ninth straight dry day here. This dry pattern will stick around through Saturday with the next decent chance of rain not coming until early Sunday.

The longer range precipitation probability forecasts have mixed signals. The 6-10 day forecast has us outlooked for above average rainfall overall for September 27th through October 1st but the 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for below average rainfall from September 29th through October 5th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly sunny High: 78

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 58 High: 79

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 58 High: 77

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 59 High: 79

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 60 High: 81

Sunday: Mostly cloudy, scattered shower possible Low: 61 High: 73

Monday: Mostly sunny Low: 56 High: 78



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