We worked for the NOAA. Political appointees can’t overrule scientists ~ The Washington Post

President Trump during an Oval Office briefing on Sept. 4. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

September 9 at 6:49 PM

Jane Lubchenco (2009-2013), D. James Baker (1993-2001) and Kathryn D. Sullivan (2013-2017) are former administrators of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Monday brought the welcome news that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration career leaders are pushing back against political interference with weather forecasts. Craig McLean, the acting chief scientist , is investigating the agency’s apparent attempts to defend President Trump’s inaccurate statements about the danger to Alabama from Hurricane Dorian. And another career civil servant, National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini, publicly defended the “integrity of the forecasting process.”

Weather forecasting should never be political. The National Weather Service, an agency within NOAA, issues forecasts and warnings that are based on science and focused squarely on public safety. For more than a century, the agency has played a vital role in protecting the lives and property of Americans across the country.

To be effective, NWS forecasts and warnings need to be accurate, timely and clear. Everyone — citizens, airline officials, farmers, fishermen, city officials and emergency managers — relies on the NWS to provide trustworthy information. Even a hint that a forecast or warning was influenced by politics would undermine the public’s trust and the ability to respond quickly and effectively under potentially life-threatening conditions.

If political appointees overrule trained scientists, imposing political concerns on scientific matters, they endanger public safety as well as the credibility and morale of the agency charged with protecting that safety.

That is apparently what happened last week. As the potentially dangerous weather conditions caused by Hurricane Dorian rapidly evolved, NOAA officials in Washington overrode sound science and undercut NWS professionals, apparently to provide cover for the president, who on Sept. 1 had posted inaccurate information on Twitter. Worse, NOAA officials, in an unsigned statement, had the gall on Sept. 6 to chastise NWS forecasters in Birmingham, Ala., for telling the public — correctly — that Alabama was not actually endangered.

Tweets, a Sharpie and the NOAA: The domino effect of Trump’s false Dorian claim
It began on Sept. 1 when President Trump warned that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama. Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow presents a timeline of events. (Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

The impetus for the reprimand might have come from high in the Trump administration: The New York Times on Monday reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who heads the department responsible for NOAA, threatened to fire agency officials after the Birmingham office contradicted the president.

It was bad enough that Trump’s warning to Alabamians of a serious risk from Hurricane Dorian was woefully outdated. But it would be appalling if NOAA political appointees sought to defend his mistake, while castigating the NWS office for accurately reassuring Alabamians that they were not in danger.

NOAA has a scientific integrity policy for a reason — to prevent politics from interfering with the discovery, use and communication of scientific information, and to deal with violations of its standards. Moreover, manipulating weather information can be a federal offense. To restore public trust in weather forecasts and warnings, every step should be taken to learn from this distortion of truth and breach of trust.

NOAA has been without a permanent leader since the beginning of the Trump administration, instead relying on acting heads to run the agency. The lack of genuine political leadership is all too apparent. The Senate should press the White House to nominate a qualified candidate who can restore public confidence in the non-political nature of this vital agency. McLean’s investigation is a good first step in finding out more about the breach of public trust, but scrutiny by Congress and the inspector general may also be merited. It is essential that the federal government does all in its power to reaffirm, and to safeguard, NOAA’s scientific integrity policy.

Climate crisis is greatest ever threat to human rights, UN warns ~ The Guardian

4786.jpgMichelle Bachelet said the Amazon fires ‘may have catastrophic impact on humanity as a whole, but their worst effects are suffered by the women, men and children who live in these areas.’ Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA

  • Rights chief Michelle Bachelet highlights role in civil wars
  • ‘The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope’

Climate change is not only having a devastating impact on the environments we live in, but also on respect for human rights globally, the UN has warned.

She also denounced attacks on environmental activists, particularly in Latin America, and the abuse aimed at high-profile figures such as the teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg.

“The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope,” she told the UN human rights council in Geneva.

“The economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all your people, and future generations, will be impacted” by climate change, she warned.

The 42nd session of the council opened with a minute of silence for the victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, where at least 44 have been killed and thousands of homes reduced to rubble.

“The storm accelerated with unprecedented speed over an ocean warmed by climate shifts, becoming one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever to hit land,” Bachelet said.

Low-lying small island states like the Bahamas, which are heavily affected by climate change, are quickly seeing rights to water, sanitation, health, food, work and adequate housing, she warned. She called for international action to mitigate the impact there.

The UN high commissioner for human rights also denounced the “drastic acceleration of deforestation of the Amazon.

“The fires currently raging across the rainforest may have catastrophic impact on humanity as a whole, but their worst effects are suffered by the women, men and children who live in these areas,” she said.

She urged authorities in Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to “ensure the implementation of longstanding environmental policies … thus preventing future tragedies”.

Bachelet’s comments risk further angering the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who last week accused her of meddling in his country’s affairs after she criticised the deteriorating rights situation there.

The UN rights chief also highlighted the impact climate change is having on insecurity around the world. She cited a UN estimate that 40% of civil wars over the past six decades have been linked to environmental degradation.

In the Sahel region of Africa for instance, degradation of arable land “is intensifying competition for already scarce resources”, she said. This in turn exacerbates ethnic tensions, and fuels violence and political instability, she added.

Bachelet lamented that those sounding the alarm over the devastating impacts of climate change are often attacked.

UN experts, she said, had “noted attacks on environmental human rights defenders in virtually every region, particularly in Latin America”.

“I am disheartened by this violence, and also by the verbal attacks on young activists such as Greta Thunberg and others, who galvanise support for prevention of the harm their generation may bear,” Bachelet said.

“The demands made by environmental defenders and activists are compelling, and we should respect, protect and fulfil their rights.”

 

Trophy Hunter Seeks to Import Parts of Rare Rhino He Paid $400,000 to Kill ~ ‘This guy should be gutted and quartered’ … rŌbert

The federal government is considered likely to approve a Michigan man’s application for the animal’s skin, skull and horns to come into the United States.

Credit Matthias Toedt/DPA, via Associated Press

 

By

 

A Michigan trophy hunter who paid $400,000 to kill a rare black rhinoceros in Africa in 2018 is seeking a federal permit to allow him to import its skin, skull and horns to the United States, according to government records.

The hunter, Chris D. Peyerk of Shelby Township, Mich., applied in April for the permit, which is required by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. Under the Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to import trophies of endangered species unless it’s determined that doing so would help the survival of the species.

Mr. Peyerk paid a Namibian wildlife conservation organization for the opportunity to shoot and kill a black rhino bull in May 2018 in Mangetti National Park in Namibia. The 29-year-old rhino was interfering with breeding by younger bulls and harming population growth, according to documents from Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Mr. Peyerk’s payment was to be earmarked for rhino conservation and the rhino’s meat was distributed to rural communities surrounding the park, the ministry said.

‘Formerly respected Govt. agency caves for trump’ ~ rŌbert ~ NOAA backs Trump on Alabama hurricane forecast, rebukes Weather Service for accurately contradicting him … The Washington Post

The Alabama office’s forecast for Hurricane Dorian turned out to be accurate.

Trump appears to show Sharpie-altered hurricane map
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September 6 at 8:52 PM

The federal agency that oversees the National Weather Service has sided with President Trump over its own scientists in the ongoing controversy over whether Alabama was at risk of a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time Trump tweeted Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

Referencing archived hurricane advisories, the NOAA statement said that information provided to the president and the public between Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 “demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama.”

In an unusual move, the statement also admonished its National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., which had released a tweetcontradicting Trump’s claim and stating, “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”

The NOAA statement said: “The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Slow, intense and unrelenting: The science behind Hurricane Dorian’s most dangerous qualities ~ The Washington Post

A satellite image from Tuesday shows Hurricane Dorian moving off the east coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA/AP)

September 4 at 3:01 PM

The science connecting climate change to hurricanes like Dorian is strong. Warmer oceans fuel more extreme storms; rising sea levels bolster storm surges and lead to worse floods. Just this summer, after analyzing more than 70 years of Atlantic hurricane data, NASA scientist Tim Hall reported that storms have become much more likely to “stall” over land, prolonging the time when a community is subjected to devastating winds and drenching rain.

But none of the numbers in his spreadsheets could prepare Hall for the image on his computer screen this week: Dorian swirling as a Category 5 storm, monstrous and nearly motionless, above the islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Seeing it “just spinning there, spinning there, spinning there, over the same spot,” Hall said, “you can’t help but be awestruck to the point of speechlessness.”

After pulverizing the Bahamas for more than 40 hours, Dorian finally swerved north Tuesday as a Category 2 storm. It is expected to skirt the coasts of Florida and Georgia before striking land again in the Carolinas, where it could deliver more life-threatening wind, storm surge and rain.

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“Simply unbelievable,” tweeted Marshall Shepherd, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Georgia and former president of the American Meteorological Society. “I feel nausea over this, and I only get that feeling with a few storms.”

The hurricane has matched or broken records for its intensity and for its creeping pace over the Bahamas. But it also fits a trend: Dorian’s appearance made 2019 the fourth straight year in which a Category 5 hurricane formed in the Atlantic — the longest such streak on record.

Shocking though the storm has been, meteorologists and climate scientists say it bears hallmarks of what hurricanes will increasingly look like as the climate warms.

Dorian’s rapid intensification over the weekend was unprecedented for a hurricane that was already so strong. In the space of nine hours Sunday, its peak winds increased from 150 mph to 180 mph. By the time the storm made landfall, its sustained winds of 185 mph were tied for strongest ever observed in the Atlantic.

The link between rapid intensification and climate change is robust, said Jennifer Francis, an atmospheric scientist at Woods Hole Research Center. Heat in the ocean is a hurricane’s primary source of fuel, and the world’s oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the warming of the past 50 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 3.19.42 PM.png

South Carolina and North Carolina coastal areas are likely to see heavy rainfall, storm surge and high winds as Hurricane Dorian moves up the Southeast coast. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

The water that Dorian developed over was about 1 degree Celsius warmer than normal, Francis said: “That translates to a whole bunch of energy.”

Because warm air can hold more moisture, climate change has increased the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, leading to wetter hurricanes that unleash more extreme rainfall.

The warm, wet air also gives further fuel to a growing storm.

“When that water vapor condenses into cloud droplets, it releases a lot of heat into the atmosphere and that’s what a hurricane feeds off of,” Francis said. “These factors are very clearly contributing to the storms we’ve been seeing lately.”

Models predict that Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the North Atlantic could become nearly twice as common over the next century as a result of climate change, even as the total number of storms declines.

Once a hurricane makes landfall, the sea level rise created by global warming can exacerbate its effects by amplifying storm surge. A hurricane’s strong winds will push water toward the shore, causing extreme flooding in a relatively short time.

The higher the water level on a clear day, the worse floods will be once a storm arrives — and global sea levels are predicted to rise by about a meter by the end of the century.

Hurricane Dorian was particularly striking — and devastating — because of the way it lingered over the Bahamas. Such “stalling” events have become far more common in the past three quarters of a century, said Hall, who is a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In a study published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science in June, Hall found that North Atlantic hurricanes have slowed about 17 percent since 1944; annual coastal rainfall averages from hurricanes increased by about 40 percent over the same period. A 2018 paper found that tropical cyclones worldwide have slowed significantly.

In stalling events, “you have longer time for the wind to build up that wall of water for the surge and you just get more and more accumulated rain on the same region,” Hall said.

“That was the catastrophe of Harvey,” he added, referring to the hurricane that dumped more than five feet of rain over Texas in 2017. Hurricanes Dorian and Florence, the latter of which deluged the Carolinas last year, also fit this pattern.

Hall and his colleagues believe there is a “climate change signal” in this phenomenon, though they are still teasing out the link between human-caused warming and slow-moving storms.

Hurricanes have no engines of their own; instead, they are steered across Earth’s surface by large-scale atmospheric winds, like corks bobbing in a turbulent stream.

If these guiding winds collapse, or even simply shift around, a hurricane can get caught in an eddy and “stagnate,” Hall said. Climate simulations have shown that atmospheric winds in the subtropics, where Dorian is, are slowing down — making these types of eddies more likely.

“But there are a lot of points in the chain of cause and effect that remain to be elaborated,” Hall said.

Such stalling events make hurricanes more difficult to track. Without a known large-scale wind to propel them, the storms are buffeted about by small-scale fluctuations in their environments that are far harder to forecast.

Both Hall and Francis cautioned that scientists can’t attribute any single weather disaster to climate change — especially not while that disaster is unfolding. What researchers can do is evaluate how much worse the disaster was made as a result of human-caused warming, and how likely it is that this type of disaster will occur again.

When it comes to Dorian, Hall said, the answers to both those questions are grim.

“This is what we expect more of,” he said. But he doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to seeing it.

Why Weather Forecasting Keeps Getting Better ~ The New Yorker

The stakes can be so much higher than whether you’ll need an umbrella today.

By

 

At four-fifteen on the morning of June 4, 1944, Group Captain James Martin Stagg, a meteorologist for the British military, arrived at the library of a grand manor house on the southern coast of England. On the other side of the room was General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied Forces—the man Stagg needed to convince that D Day should be postponed.

The conditions for the launch had to be just so: a full moon for visibility, low tides to expose the underwater German defenses. That left a narrow window of just three days in June, and June 5th was the date the generals had settled on. But the Allies’ warships and aircraft would also need calm seas and clear skies, and here Stagg and his team had foreseen a problem.

Even though the skies outside promised a bright morning, the meteorologists calculated that a parade of storms was poised to barrel across the Atlantic, hampering the prospects of success. The generals were wary of any delay, but Eisenhower reluctantly agreed to hold off.

A few hours later, Stagg had better news. Allied weather stations were reporting a ridge of high pressure that would reach the beaches of Normandy on June 6th. The weather wouldn’t be ideal, but it would be good enough to proceed. Eisenhower gave the order to reschedule the invasion.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of that weather forecast, as John Ross makes clear in a book on the subject. Had the Allies gone ahead as planned, the invasion probably would have failed. Had they postponed it until the next interval with favorable moon-and-tide conditions, they would have lost the element of surprise. The German meteorologists had also foreseen the storms, but they’d missed the significance of the brief glimpse of calm. They were so confident that an Allied attack was impossible that Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the commander of the Normandy defenses, decided to take a few days’ leave for his wife’s birthday. He’d even bought her a new pair of shoes in Paris for the occasion. Years later, when Eisenhower was asked why D Day had been a success, he reportedly said, “Because we had better meteorologists than the Germans.”

In our world, weather forecasts are so ubiquitous that we treat them as notable only when wrong. It’s easy to forget what a crucial role they play, and to overlook the monumental achievement they represent. But Andrew Blum’s new book, “The Weather Machine” (Ecco), asks us to pause and marvel at the globe-spanning networks of collaboration required to turn the weather from something we experience to something we can predict.

It wasn’t always possible to be so complacent. Wartime made the stakes of weather forecasting especially plain. Sometimes, as with D Day, visibility was important; at other times, cloud cover and fog could help conceal a position. Alongside the battle for land, sea, and air, then, a quiet war over the atmosphere was being waged. The weather war even had its own clandestine undercover missions in search of mundane treasures like data on temperature, pressure, and wind speed.

In the Northern Hemisphere, storms tend to move from west to east, so any prediction of what lay in store for Europe relied on knowing what was happening in the Atlantic. The Allies, who were in control of all the major landmasses that lined the ocean, had the upper hand. The Nazis had to use long-range aircraft and secret weather ships to gather observations. The Allies tried to sink those ships, but the Nazis also made use of radio reports of cancelled English soccer matches for hints about weather to the north.

So, as Blum explains, in 1942 the German government came up with an ingenious solution. With help from the Siemens-Schuckertwerke group (a predecessor of the modern-day Siemens) and others, it developed a series of automated weather stations: these were an intricate array of pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors, encased in storm-resistant metal containers and equipped with batteries and a radio antenna. Some would hitch rides with the Luftwaffe and transmit weather readings from remote locations on the edge of Europe. By 1943, the devices were powerful enough to communicate across the Atlantic. That year, a Nazi submarine sneaked to the northernmost tip of Newfoundland, where a team of German soldiers took ten cannisters ashore on two rubber dinghies. For the plan to work, the weather station needed to stay undetected after it had been left in the wilderness, so they labelled the equipment “Canadian Meteor Service” and scattered the site with a host of American cigarette packs. Only in 1981 was the ruse discovered.

The weather station itself was operational for a matter of months before the radio frequency jammed and the batteries died. But this mission marked one of the few known incursions of the Nazis on North American soil: getting hold of weather data was important enough to take the risk.

To anyone in Europe, the indispensability of that data hasn’t diminished over time. But what in war was treated as a weapon to be mobilized against your enemy has become, in peace, the stuff of international coöperation for the common good. That’s always been the way with weather. It has a strange ability both to unite and to divide.

Blum tells a story about the early telegraph which highlights this point. By 1848, more than two thousand miles of telegraph lines had been laid across the United States. They were a technological marvel, but they were prone to problems when it rained. Every morning, telegraph operators checked with their colleagues in the surrounding cities to see what the weather was like. “If I learned from Cincinnati that the wires to St. Louis were interrupted by rain,” one operator was recorded as saying, “I was tolerably sure a ‘northeast’ storm was approaching.”

The effect was to change people’s perception of time and space. Being able to communicate through the telegraph might have made the world seem smaller, but those weather reports also made the world bigger, creating distance between places on a map. America was no longer a collection of small communities but a coherent whole, spread out across a landscape, resting beneath a solitary sky. The weather changed from something that you experienced to a shared pattern stretching hundreds of miles which you could see coming. “Once the news could travel faster than the winds,” Blum observes, “the winds need no longer come as a surprise.” This connectivity could be ruptured: when the telegraph network was interrupted during the Civil War, the flow of weather reports stopped and the towns and villages went back to not knowing what the skies might hold for the future.

Modern weather forecasting, too, sits in the intersection of unity and division. The rockets and satellites launched during the Cold War helped provide a major breakthrough in weather prediction: the first images sent from the edge of space showed Earth wrapped in bands and whirls and vortices that stretched thousands of miles. It was a view of a world that belonged to all of us. As Blum’s detailed (sometimes overly so) chapters on satellites make clear, any snapshot of our atmosphere is something that unites the world even while enabled by technology designed to destroy it.

There’s more to modern weather prediction, of course, than just extrapolating the path of a storm. It’s not enough to mark on a map what the conditions are and have been. If you want to know what they’ll be in the future, you need to understand what will change and why. You need a science of the atmosphere, which is no easy thing.

Vilhelm Bjerknes was a Norwegian physicist who was born in 1862. He had spent much of his life toying with the forces in fluids when, at around the turn of the century, he began to wonder why the weather couldn’t be tamed by science. If we can do it for the heavens—predicting planetary orbits and all that—why not for the skies? After all, air follows the same laws of physics as anything else—a bouncing ball, a falling apple, a planet orbiting a star.

So he started with the fundamental laws: Matter cannot be created or destroyed. Nor can energy. Momentum must be conserved. By tying those mathematical equations together for all the packets of air that make up our atmosphere, and setting them on a spinning globe, Bjerknes thought that he’d found a way to sketch out how winds blew around our Earth.

Colorado’s Summer Weather Started Cool, But Has Turned Hot And Dry

Colorado Mean TemperatureWestern Regional Climate Center
Despite Colorado’s heavy snowpack and mild temperatures early on, the 2019 summer was mostly hot and dry.

Despite heavy snowpack and mild temperatures early on, Colorado’s summer was mostly hot and dry, especially in August.

Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Alamosa and Grand Junction all had temperatures above average for July and August, according to the National Weather Service

Scott Stearns with the Weather Service in Grand Junction said the city had 28 days during the month with temperatures at or above 90 degrees. On average, Grand Junction usually only has about 16 days with those hot temperatures.

“Rarely do we hit that average here in Western Colorado. Usually, we’ve got a good monsoon, a lot of moisture coming up and we’re below 90 during the month of August most of the time,” Stearns said. “We keep hitting those high temperatures well through August.”

Stearns said temperatures in Grand Junction were 5.4 degrees above the normal high at 95.1 degrees. In 2018, the normal high was 92.6 degrees with 24 days at or above 90 degrees.

In Denver, the average high for August was 90.6 degrees, said Frank Cooper with the weather service in Boulder. The average monthly temperature is 73.5 degrees.

“August was the warmest month,” he said. “We were still getting some of those wet thunderstorms through like the first or second week, which is around that monsoon period. But we started to dry out fairly well toward the latter part of the month and we stayed kinda dry.”

Boulder and Denver broke record high temperatures on Sunday.

NWS Boulder

@NWSBoulder

With a high around 100° in Denver it will likely be the warmest September day on record beating out the record of 98° which was set yesterday. We figure that this would be a good time to remind everyone that Denver’s normal snowfall for September is 1.3″.

View image on Twitter

But the weather in June across Colorado was cool in comparison. Alamosa, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Denver all had below-average temperatures, according to the weather service.

Cooper said Denver didn’t reach 90 degrees until June 26, which is unusual.

“We kept our snowpack through the month and normally if it warms up really fast, we deal with a lot of runoff issues and we really didn’t deal with that because it stayed cool through the first part of the summer,” he said. “We really didn’t have like a really solid monsoon season. We did get periods where we got heavy rainfall from mid-July to mid-August, but generally, it was rather it was dry.”

Western Regional Climate Center
Despite Colorado’s heavy snowpack and mild temperatures early on, the 2019 summer was mostly hot and dry.

 

Peter Goble, a service climatologist and drought specialist with Colorado’s Climate Center, said the combination of above-average moisture, few 90-degree days across the urban corridor in June and a great snowpack helped keep water supplies high and fire season less active.

“We managed to make it through what’s typically the peak of fire season in Colorado without things getting very active,” he said. “But as long as things stay hot and dry like this, we’re certainly not out of the woods yet.”

Goble predicts August will rank among the top 10 warmest and driest over the last 100 years, though official statistics won’t be released for several days.

“We may see some increased drought conditions in parts of the state,” he said. “I’m particularly concerned about southern Colorado with the monsoon not delivering as much precipitation as normal because once this time of year passes, climatologically, we tend to be drier. So as we move into later September and into October, precipitation amounts tend to start coming down across much of the state in a normal year.”

The meteorologists and climatologist predict hot and dry weather will persist for a while longer, though they all said it’s hard to forecast accurately beyond a week or two. Some moisture is expected this weekend.

Expect a ‘Polar Coaster’ and cold temperatures this winter according to the Farmers’ Almanac … NOAA winter forecast will be released in Oct.

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(CNN) Freezing. Frigid. Frosty. That’s what you can expect this winter if you’re in the United States, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.

“[T]his winter will be filled with so many ups and downs on the thermometer, it may remind you of a ‘Polar Coaster,'” its website says.
The Farmers’ Almanac provides 16 months of weather forecasts for seven zones across the US and Canada and has become a closely watched predictor of weather, particularly winter weather.
While this forecast trends around this time every year, the more than 200-year-old almanac shouldn’t be given too much weight on its own.
“It’s difficult enough to do a five-day forecast,” Dave Hennen, senior meteorologist and executive producer for CNN Weather, said in 2016. “We’re really good at the day of and the next day, (and) we’re better at temperature a ways out than precipitation. But to forecast out that far in advance … even the science behind our long-range forecasting is sometimes not that solid.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s official winter seasonal outlook will be released in October. But for now, here’s what the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting.

The 2020 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac predicts that two-thirds of the country will face a colder-than-normal winter season. The worst of this year’s bitterly cold winter will affect the eastern parts of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians.
The outlook says the Northeast, including cities such as Boston and Washington, can anticipate colder temperatures than typically expected. The biggest drop will happen in areas across the northern Plains to the Great Lakes.
“With colder-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and above-normal precipitation expected, our outlook forewarns of not only a good amount of snow, but also a wintry mix of rain, sleet—especially along the coast,” the long range forecaster suggests.
People in the western third of the US may be in luck, since the publication forecasts near-normal winter temperatures there.

When does this wintry winter start?

The coldest conditions are expected to arrive during the last week of January and stick around through the beginning of February.
The eastern half of the US will have a suspenseful start in 2020. The Farmers’ Almanac predicts strong and gusty winds. Depending on where you live, January 4-7 and 12-15 could have “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,” the publication says.

So what does this mean for spring?

Be prepared to stay bundled for a while.
This year’s winter will cause a slow start to a spring season, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. People in the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast and New England should expect winter to linger.
“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 outlook warns.