Opinion
August 26th, 2020
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Farmer’s Almanac Winter 2021 Forecast Predicts White and Wild Winter out West

Farmer's Almanac predicts "The Winter of the Great Divide"

Each year since 1818, the Farmer’s Almanac has turned to its “time-tested formula” to predict a long-range weather forecast for the winter, and this year is no exception. While the publisher claims accuracy in the range of 75% to 80% accuracy, we forecast a 100% chance of dubious speculation—a real snow job if you will.

In any case, it’s fun for sledders in August to fantasize about the possibility of a legendary winter of epic snowfall to come. So let’s take a look at the Farmer’s Almanac Winter 2021 prediction to see what the prophets have in store for us.


Canadian Farmer's Almanac Winter 2021

Since we’re based in Canada, let’s look at what’s in store here, first, before analyzing the forecast farther south.

The Canadian Farmer’s Almanac is calling Winter 2020-2021 “The Winter of the Great Divide: Wet, white, and wild in the West, everything crazy in the East.”

Everything crazy out East? What does that mean? Well, the Almanac calls for unseasonably mild conditions for much of the winter in the eastern provinces. That sounds like bad news for mountain riders in Newfoundland, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, Quebec and Ontario will experience “intervals of unseasonably mild temperatures with periodic shots of bitter cold”. Huh, you don’t say. Doesn’t that describe every winter in Ontario and Quebec? Sounds like the ol’ Almanac is hedging its bets here.

While the overall forecast for the middle provinces seems a little vague, somehow the Farmer’s Almanac‘s magic formula has managed to nail down a pretty specific outlook for a couple of weeks in the middle of winter. The forecast says, “we are red-flagging the second week of January over Ontario and Quebec for a possible heavy snowfall with a wintry mix for the Maritimes, and another for the second week of February for possible blizzard conditions in the Maritimes.” Book your holidays now, folks!

Wet, White and Wild in Western Canada

The Farmer’s Almanac Winter 2021 forecast calls for average to mild winter temps in British Columbia—which sounds pretty good if you believe it to be true. Mild temperatures often come as a result of Pacific storm systems that sweep across the province, dumping heavy precipitation as they move east across the ranges.

That seems to be the case, as the forecast predicts that, “an active storm (thanks to incoming storms from the Pacific) will bring a heavier than normal dose of rain to western British Columbia.” It sounds like a computer wrote that copy, but hey, we’ll let it slide if it means we’ll be handlebars deep when that perfect storm rolls through.

The 2020-21 forecast goes on to say that above-normal snow is expected over the interior of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, with a heavier than normal dose of rain to western British Columbia.

The forecast map reinforces this prediction, indicating a “Stormy Mix of Snow, Ice, Rain”. Add some elevation into that mix, and it sounds a “Stormy Mix of Snow, Snow, Snow” to us!

Mountain Sledders in Canada, rejoice!

Farmer's Almanac Winter 2021 Canada map

USA Farmer's Almanac Forecast 2020-21

Just like for Western Canada, the Farmer’s Almanac in the USA also offers an optimistic prediction for riders in snowy mountainous areas of the United States. The Farmer’s Almanac Winter 2021 Forecast predicts “above-normal snowfall if you live in the western Dakotas, northern portions of Colorado and Utah, as well as Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and central and eastern sections of Washington and Oregon.” However, it warns, expect below normal temperatures as far west as the Rockies.

Northern California, along with the western parts of Oregon and Washington are predicted to experience rainy and wet weather throughout the winter. It’s tough to say if that will mean snow at higher elevations or if warm systems will bring rain to the top, because, well, let’s face it—we have no idea how these guys have been making this stuff up for the last 200 years. 

For riders in the East, be prepared for the “possibility of a blizzard hitting the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states during the second week of February. This storm may bring up to 1-2 feet of snow to cities from Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts!”

Take note of  the liberal use of such non-committal wording as “possibility” and “may”.

There is no additional clarification on what the “Cold, Very Flaky” forecast for the U.P. will entail. Snowflaky?

Farmer's Almanac Winter 2021 USA map

Winter 2020-21 Forecast Perditions

As much as we like to poke fun of the Farmer’s Almanac’s weather prediction claims, it’s all in good fun. Each August, it provides us a chance to look ahead to our favourite season with hope for something grand and get us excited for what’s to come.

But, if you’re still skeptical (and understandably so), you can always take a more scientific approach with your own predictions based on some top weather forecast apps and sites available.

 

As for Mountain Sledder, we’ll stick with what we do know:

  • It will snow
  • We will ride
  • It will be fun

That’s the truth, and something to genuinely look forward to for the next few months.

 

– MS