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Cold, dry winter in store for Tennesseans

Winter is only a few weeks away, and that means the threat of snow, ice and freezing conditions. For those looking ahead to the coming season, there are two sources for distant weather predictions: the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Farmer’s Almanac.

The 2013-2014 winter weather outlook for Clarksville, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, calls for a mix of sun, rain and mild temperatures for the rest of November. The average temperature will be 53 degrees, two degrees below average, with around six inches of precipitation, one inch above average.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, beginning in December, the average temperature will drop to around 46 degrees with average precipitation around four inches. Northern Tennessee will begin to see snow around Christmas.

For the rest of the winter, the almanac calls for colder than normal temperatures, with “below-normal precipitation and snowfall in all but the northernmost part of the region.” In late December and early January, the temperature will drop to its lowest point, and our greatest chance for snowfall will arrive.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, significant snowfalls are expected for every zone. The Farmer’s Almanac also says that Tennessee should expect snow for Thanksgiving.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), starting in 1996, Tennessee usually has a 6-10 year span between significant snowfalls, plus or minus two years. The last significant snowfall was in 2010 at around 12.5 inches, so the next should be seen between 2016 and 2020.

Neither the Old Farmer’s Almanac nor Farmer’s Almanac is designed to be used as a prediction that is 100 percent accurate. They claim a high accuracy rate, but use their own methods to make predictions. More often than not, their highest amounts of success are in generalized weather conditions, such as saying a region will receive lower than normal temperatures.

To make predictions, the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Founder, Robert B. Thomas, used studies of solar activity variations, astronomical cycles and previous weather cycles to create his own “secret” method, which is still in use today.

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