The Managing Editor for The Old Farmer's Almanac says we can expect "an old-fashioned winter" this year. 

The 232nd edition of the Almanac has just been released, and Jack Burnett says they are calling for a winter whiteout for nearly all of Canada. 

"I've done this for many, many years and I've seen many, many of our forecasts and I've never seen so much white on a map of Canada in my entire life," admits Burnett.

He notes they are calling for cold and snowy for the entire country with a few exceptions at either end of Canada. For us in southern Manitoba, that means a winter that is colder than normal and has more precipitation than normal. And, in our case, that means more snow. 

"It's like the trifecta of winter weather," he says. 

Burnett explains that their forecasts are based on ancient methods. He notes their computers will point out when there are overwhelming indicators for things like storms and bitter cold weather. 

In southern Manitoba they are forecasting at least two big snowstorms. They will sort of bookend winter with the first expected to happen towards the end of the first week of November. The second storm is expected for the first week of April.

Burnett says the snowiest periods should be the beginning of November, the beginning of February and then the end of March and into early April.

Winter weather outlook for Canada (credit: The Old Farmer's Almanac)Winter weather outlook for Canada (credit: The Old Farmer's Almanac)

As for the coldest stretches, he expects four periods of bitter cold weather. That will happen during the first few days of December, the first week of January, mid-February and the last week of March. If you are doing the math, you can see that the end of March is expected to be both very cold and very snowy. 

"In a way I think that's going to be good, it will get moisture into the ground," notes Burnett. "It's Manitoba, it's not like people haven't had a bad winter before."

He adds if we can get some moisture into the ground from a snowy winter, it should help with the forest fire situation next year. 

But, before the start of winter, we still have all of fall to get through. Burnett says The Old Farmer's Almanac is calling for the months of September and October to be warmer and a little drier than normal. That forecast lines up with what Environment Canada announced last week. 

Meanwhile, next spring is expected to be cooler and wetter than normal, followed by a summer that is warmer and drier in southern Manitoba. 

When it comes to making forecasts, Burnett says they rely on a recipe that was first used by Robert B. Thomas in 1792. Burnett says when Thomas first started making weather forecasts, he took three things into consideration. The first factor was meteorology, which is the localized weather phenomenon that is caused by factors such as mountains, lakes or localized winds.

The second factor was climatology, which is long-term weather patterns for a particular area. And the third factor was solar science. Burnett says through the use of computers, they can find a pattern in history where the weather trends then resemble patterns today. Then, by learning what happened next in history, they can determine what is most likely to happen in our future.

Burnett says their forecasts are completed up to two years in advance. 

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