If the Old Farmer’s Almanac is to be trusted, California can look forward to another winter with above-average precipitation and cooler-than-average temperatures.
“Get Ready for a Winter Wonderland!” is the Almanac’s headline for its Winter 2023-2024 national forecast.
A map indicates cool and wet conditions are expected in central and southern California, extending from the San Francisco Bay area to the Mexico border.
Areas of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are also included.
“A strong El Niño means winter will be wetter than normal, with above-normal mountain snow,” the Almanac says. “The stormiest, wettest periods will be in early and late January, early to mid-February, and mid-March. There will be a white Christmas across the Sierra Nevada mountains, but not in the valleys or along the coast.”
Last winter, California was drenched with record-setting rain and snow piled up to historic levels in the mountains.
To predict the weather, the Old Farmer’s Almanac uses a “secret formula” that was developed by the company’s founder, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792. Its methodology includes a study of sunspots and other solar activity, along with traditional climatology and meteorology.
“Thomas believed that weather on Earth was influenced by sunspots, which are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun,” its website states. “Over the years, we have refined and enhanced that formula with state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations.”
The Farmer’s Almanac, a similarly folksy but competing publication, is forecasting a cooler, wet winter for the Pacific Northwest which also could lead to more moisture in California if El Niño conditions persist.
While many experts may question the accuracy of these almanacs, there is no questioning their longevity. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America and the Farmer’s Almanac was founded in 1818.
Kirk Hawkins, a weather anchor at KTLA, says these forecasts can be helpful when examined with other data.
“The National Weather Service is also predicting El Niño will continue through this winter in the Northern Hemisphere, so these almanacs are pretty much in line with that,” Hawkins says. “We’ll see how it turns out.”