How cold will this Thanksgiving be? Farmers Almanac has metro-east weather predictions

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As metro-east residents have been able to enjoy fall colors and cooler weather in recent weeks, they may be wondering just how cold it might get around Thanksgiving.

The Farmers’ Almanac has released its Thanksgiving holiday weekend weather predictions, which are valid from Nov. 24 to 27. Your almanac “zone” depends on which side of the river you live on, but here’s what to expect in Illinois and Missouri.

Illinois is in the Farmers’ Almanac’s “Zone 2,” which also includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Almanac’s Zone 2 prediction reads: “Grab the firewood! Mostly fair, cold Thanksgiving.”

Missouri is in Zone 4, along with Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Residents of Zone 4 should expect a “mostly fair Thanksgiving followed by heavy snows (up to 12′) for Northern, Central Rockies,” according to the almanac.

How does the Farmers’ Almanac predict weather?

The Farmers’ Almanac has provided extended forecasts since 1818, according to its website, and typically projects out further than the National Weather Service.

The almanac makes predictions based on a mysterious formula that considers factors such as planetary positioning, sunspot activity and tidal action of the moon.

“The only person who knows the exact formula is the Farmers’ Almanac weather prognosticator who goes by the pseudonym of Caleb Weatherbee,” the website reads. “To protect this proprietary formula, the editors of the Farmers’ Almanac prefer to keep both Caleb’s true identity and the formula a closely guarded brand secret.”

Editors of the Farmers’ Almanac “firmly deny” using any type of computer satellite tracking equipment, weather lore or groundhogs. They say they use a specific and reliable set of rules developed in 1818 by the almanac’s first editor, an astronomer and mathematician named David Young. The rules have been altered slightly and turned into an astronomical, mathematical formula, the almanac says.

What does the National Weather Service forecast?

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center provides outlooks up to three months out, and the NWS posted the most recent long-range forecast Sept. 15. It includes information for October, November and December.

While the Seasonal Precipitation Outlook forecasts the metro-east has equal chances of above or below normal precipitation, there’s a decent chance temperatures will be atypical.

Some of the St. Louis region has a 33% to 40% chance of above normal temperatures from October to December, while a bit farther south has a 40% to 50% likelihood of warmer temperatures, NWS reports.

October’s monthly temperature outlook from NWS says the St. Louis region has a 40% to 50% chance of above normal temperatures, while the month’s precipitation forecast reports Illinois and Missouri have a 40% to 50% chance of below normal precipitation.