'Polar Coaster' winter predicted

La PORTE COUNTY — Ready for another winter ride this winter – full of chills and thrills? Probably not, but according to the 2020 Farmers’ Almanac, this winter will be filled with “so many ups and downs on the thermometer, it may remind you of a Polar Coaster.

That’s the early word from editor Peter Geiger, Philom., who said, “Our extended forecast is calling for yet another freezing, frigid and frosty winter for two-thirds of the country.”

Including Northwest Indiana, which last winter survived multiple rounds of ice storms and freezing rain, and one of the longest prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures in recent memory.

The Farmers’ Almanac is calling for “another wild ride” for the winter of 2019-20, with frigid temperatures and snow for a majority of the country.

“Freezing, frigid and frosty” are the exact terms used to describe the upcoming season, especially for areas east of the Rockies, Geiger said, predicting that “the worst of the bitterly cold winter conditions will affect areas east of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians” along with “extreme temperature swings and hefty snowfalls.”

The Almanac calls for a “suspenseful start to January” over the eastern half of the country, Geiger said.

“This may mean frequent freefalling precipitation as well as strong and gusty winds. Jan. 4-7 and 12-15 could, depending on where you live, mean copious amounts of snow, rain, sleet and ice.

“And for those who live northeast of the Texas Panhandle to the western Great Lakes, watch out for what could prove to be a memorable storm producing hefty snows for the Great Plains during the third week of January. This system will cause temperatures to plummet and drag the coldest Arctic air across the rest of the country into the beginning of February.”

The coldest outbreaks in late January are “forecast to affect millions of people living in the Northern Plains into the Great Lakes – remember last winter in Chicago? – with the possibility of temperatures dropping to -40 in the Plains,” he said.

“The biggest drop – with the most freefalling, frigid temperatures – is forecasted to take hold from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes ... during the final week of January and last through the beginning of February,” he said.

The Northeast will also experience colder-than-normal temperatures for much of the upcoming winter, with only the western third of the country forecast to see near-normal temperatures and precipitation, according to Geiger.

The Almanac calls for above-normal winter precipitation over the eastern third of the country, as well as the Great Plains, Midwest and the Great Lakes states.

And it will last.

“Spring will be slow to start with winter lingering across the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast and New England,” Geiger said. “Occasional wet snow and unseasonably chilly conditions will hang on for a ride that you may not be able to get off until April.”

The National Weather Service early forecast models are not so grim, calling for near normal temperatures, and slightly above average precipitation for the Great Lakes region from December through February. More detailed long-range forecast will be made later this month.

But Geiger reminds that last year, the Almanac was “spot-on with its teeth-chattering” forecast for what turned out to be one of the wettest winters on record.

For more information, or to order the Farmer’s Almanac, visit farmersalmanac.com.

— From staff reports

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