Old Farmer says they’ll be snow
November 24, 2006
Don’t freak out over the warm weather to start the ski season. It’s going to be the exception rather than the rule this winter, if you give stock to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.The 2007 edition of the venerable publication features the usual hodge-podge of odd and unique information. There are, for example, simple exercises “to keep your lips and tongue in good whistling form.” Old favorites like “secrets of the Zodiac” and charts for planting crops make their annual appearance.But the focal point of the publication, which dates back to 1792, remains the general forecast and weather report for 16 zones of the country. The forecast for the intermountain region, which includes western and central Colorado, gives reason for skiers and riders to rejoice.”Winter will be colder and snowier than normal, with near-normal precipitation,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration saw the winter shaping up a bit differently in a report issued Nov. 16. NOAA said the central mountains of Colorado have a greater than 33 percent chance of being warmer than the 30-year average set between 1971 and 2000 for December through February.NOAA’s winter outlook indicated Colorado’s mountains have equal chances for precipitation above, below or at average.The Old Farmer’s Almanac goes out on the limb more than the forecasters at the federal agency. Mountain folk can expect the coldest spell of the winter in mid-January, the publication said. Other cold snaps will come in early December, early January and mid-February.The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted the snowiest times in mid-November, mid-January, mid- and late-February, early and mid-March.While it might seem like a distant memory now, they correctly predicted the mid-November snowfall. About 16 inches fell on the upper ski area slopes in local ski areas from Nov. 12-14, prompting the Aspen Skiing Co. to open Aspen Mountain five days before schedule. Since then, it’s been warm and dry.For the record, The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast for November said “cold, snow showers” for Nov. 9-14, then snow followed by sunny, mild weather Nov. 14-20.The almanac says it uses the study of sunspots and other solar activity, the study of prevailing weather patterns and meteorology to arrive at its long-range forecasts. The editors of the publication don’t claim total accuracy, but say “our results are almost always very close to our traditional claim of 80 percent.”Looking ahead to December, the almanac envisions a colder than average month with slightly below average precipitation. For those lamenting how warm weather has cut into the ski season in March in recent years, take heed: The almanac forecasts below average temperatures with average precipitation in March.More information on its forecasts are available at http://www.Almanac.com/weathercenter.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.