By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square
(The Center Square) – If you are a believer in the Farmers’ Almanac winter predictions, you may not want to hear its prediction for Illinois.
The publication, founded in 1818, is calling it the “Winter of the Great Divide,” forecasting cold and snow in the north, drought in the west, and wild weather in the south. Illinois is included in the cold and snowy section of the country.
Managing editor Sandi Duncan said a lot of factors are considered when the almanac arrives at its weather predictions.
“A long term outlook that is actually based on a mathematical and astronomical formula,” Duncan said. “The formula was actually devised back in 1818 by our founding editor who correlated different things like sunspot activity, position of the planets and other factors.”
More widely accepted in the scientific community is the forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This year, NOAA is forecasting average temperatures for Illinois, but more precipitation than normal from December to February.
If this winter will be anything like the winter of 2014 in Illinois, the Department of Transportation’s budget may get stretched thin again. The department’s yearly budget is just over $5 billion, but during that winter, the agency asked for an additional $47 million to cover overtime costs, the temporary drivers who assist with snow removal, and funds to cover the cost of additional road salt.
As for predicting the weather, Duncan said the Farmers’ Almanac has a pretty good track record.
“We do kind of give an overview of how we did especially for the winter because that seems to be the all-important season ahead, and people who follow our forecast say we are about 80 to 85 percent accurate,” Duncan said.