Winter forecasts: Can you trust them? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Winter forecasts: Can you trust them?

Old Farmer's Almanac Old Farmer's Almanac
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

As a meteorologist, I am constantly being asked about the weather. People want to know about the weather for their vacation, wedding, son’s birthday party, etc. However, there are certain limitations to exactly how well that forecast can be once we get more than a few days out. Some organizations and meteorologists still try to give you a peek into the upcoming season, even though the accuracy is greatly reduced.

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Source: Old Farmer's Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac attempts to predict the seasonal temperatures and precipitation each year. The 2015-2016 Old Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a rough winter across much of the nation with below average temperatures in the northeast and above average snowfall in the deep south. For the Mid-South, weather is expected to be dry with normal temperatures. The exact forecasting formula is a secret, but it’s been reported that the Old Farmer’s Almanac is based on solar activity and past weather data. The people at the Almanac claim high accuracy, but there is no evidence to back that up. Any accuracy is likely due to the generalization of the forecasts. The Almanac does not give specifics, so there are times when their forecast actually comes to light. For example, Florida being dry and mild in the winter or Michigan being cold isn’t too far reaching, right?

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Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) also tries to forecast a seasonal outlook, but it is based on climatological data, long term weather models and meteorological knowledge. The CPC is forecasting a cooler and wetter winter for many southern states, which is in line with a winter during an El Niño. For the Mid-South, their forecast gives an equal chance for an above average or below average winter.

With current technology, meteorologists are pretty accurate up to about a week, but then accuracy sharply decreases from there. So, the idea that we can predict the weather months from now is unlikely and a little irresponsible.

I’m leaning towards the CPC prediction, but you may want to look into the crystal ball for your answer to this winter’s weather!

What do you think? Do you trust either of these winter forecasts?

Brittney Bryant

Meteorologist

Follow me on Twitter @WX_BrittneyB
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WMC Action News 5 Storm Tracking Team

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