Farmers’ Almanac Forecasts a Colder, Somewhat Snowy Winter Ahead

(Radio Iowa) As we endure the sweltering sun of summer, Iowans may find some relief in pondering the cooler weather that’s sure to come. The new edition of the Farmers’ Almanac is now available and managing editor Sandi Duncan says they’re predicting plenty of cold and widespread snow for the Great Plains states, including Iowa.

“The 2024 Farmers’ Almanac says, ‘The BRR is Back,’ meaning that there’s going to be a lot of cold temperatures coming to your neck of the woods this winter season,” Duncan says. “Overall, we’re thinking that it’s going to be ultimately more of a cold than a snowy winter, but we do see some occasional bouts of storminess bringing widespread rain and snow to your region.” The publication is forecasting a more traditional winter ahead, with colder temperatures and near-countrywide snowfall. As for Iowa, it may arrive sooner, not later.

“Winter is going to start a little bit early. It looks like in December, the Farmers’ Almanac is calling for some snowy conditions,” Duncan says. “Some people like to have a little bit of white around the Christmas holidays so that may happen, but looking into January and February, the cold is more the headliner this winter.” After wintertime is technically over, the almanac is calling for what it calls a “Polar Coaster Spring,” which doesn’t sound like something that will enthuse Iowa farmers — or many of the rest of us.

“It’s kind of going to go back and forth and in fact, winter is going to hang on,” Duncan says. “We’re calling for some cool and cold conditions through March and into April. So even though the calendar may say spring, it looks like it’s going to be kind of a Polar Coaster, meaning that we see nice days that remind you that spring is coming, but overall, we see a kind of a chilly, rainy season on tap for you all.” In a Radio Iowa interview in August of 2022, the almanac’s editors predicted we’d have a “glacial, snow-filled” winter, with heavy snows beginning in late October. How did that forecast compare to what Iowa actually saw?

“Cold weather kind of got stuck over Russia and China, so of course, you had some cold conditions, but our forecast was slightly off the mark,” Duncan says, “but you know, we do our best. We try to give people an idea of what may come 12 months to 16 months down the road so that you can plan ahead.” The Lewiston, Maine-based almanac was founded in 1818 and boasts a forecast accuracy rate of 80- to 85-percent. The formula was developed more than two centuries ago, based on factors including sunspot activity, planet positions, and the effect the Moon has on the Earth. Besides long-term weather predictions, the Farmers’ Almanac also contains a wealth of information on gardening, cooking, home remedies, folklore, managing your household, living in harmony with nature, and more.