National Weather Service Meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff says for starters, there’s no solid indication that temperatures will be exceptionally frigid. “We’re looking at, for the state of Iowa, equal chances for above or below-normal temperatures,” Hagenhoff says. “Right now, there’s no real signal that says either way, so it’s looking like we may have an average winter, as far as our temperatures go.”
While the Farmers’ Almanac predicts heavy snow for Iowa and the region, especially in late January, Hagenhoff says National Weather Service forecast models don’t show anything significant ahead. “There is a slight signal that we may see a little more precipitation than normal but again, that’s a really slight signal, nothing really firm with that,” Hagenhoff says. “Long-term forecasts can be tough because they’re so far in advance and there are so many large-scale patterns that can influence it.”
While the National Weather Service uses a series of computer models for its long-range forecasts, the Farmers’ Almanac relies on a formula created in 1818 based on things like tides, sunspots and the position of the planets. Still, Almanac officials say they’re accurate 80 to 85% of the time.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)