- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Local residents should prepare for a mild winter — until March, when blankets of snow will cover the area, according to the weather prognostications in the 2005 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

“In February, you’ll feel a bit of a chill,” said Janice Stillman, editor of the venerable publication. “And in March, watch out because winter will come down with both feet.”

In these days of Doppler radar, when meteorologists still cannot predict which way a Texas-sized hurricane will turn, ordinary people might doubt the predictions of a 200-page pamphlet that has been forecasting the weather since 1818.

But the almanac says its predictions are 80 percent accurate, noting that it forewarned of the February 2003 snowstorm that blanketed the Eastern Seaboard.

Miss Stillman said the almanac’s predictions are based on measures of the effect of the sun’s energy on water and air temperatures, as well as a study of air masses known as teleconnections, which examines how weather conditions in one part of the world affect conditions in another part of the world.

Mary Myers, public information officer for the D.C. Department of Public Works, said the agency will be ready for anything, regardless of whether the Old Farmer’s Almanac or the National Weather Service predicts a modest winter.

“If you don’t plan for it, then you can plan to be in trouble with the residents,” said Miss Myers, whose agency is in charge of snow removal in the District.

The city has hired a full-time snow coordinator and has specific plans for snow removal, depending on road conditions and snowfall accumulations.

The almanac says temperatures in this region will be above average in November and December, hovering between 35 and 47 degrees, and snowfall accumulations will top off at 4 inches. A heavy snow will hit Feb. 6-8 and another early in March, when temperatures will dip 8 degrees below normal, the forecasters say.

“It’ll be one of those winters where people look back and say, ‘Remember that winter?’” said Miss Stillman.

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