PEORIA — The Farmers' Almanac has published its annual winter weather projections. It pins Central Illinois on its color-coded national weather map squarely in between the blue of "Above Normal Snowfall" and the green of "Very Flaky."
Either way, solidly blue or solidly green, it looks like it could be a snowy winter, according to the periodical that dates back to the early 19th century.
The National Weather Service, for its part, is reserving judgment.
"Based on our time-tested weather formula, the forecast for the upcoming winter looks a lot different from last year," writes Peter Geiger, the states editor of The Farmers' Almanac. "Quite divided with some very intense cold snaps and snowfall."
The long-range forecast calls for a cold winter with normal to below normal temperatures in the areas from the Great Lakes and Midwest westward through the Northern and Central Plains, and Rockies.
A blizzard originating in the Midwest and moving eastward could dump between one- and two-feet of snow from Washington, D.C., to Boston during the second week of February.
The Almanac forecasts weather based on a set of rules developed in 1818 by David Young, its first editor. The rules incorporate sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon, the position of the planets and other factors to predict the weather.
The National Weather Service, on the other hand, uses things like computer models, radar and meteorology equipment to make weather forecasts. Meteorologists in the Lincoln station are still working on the long range forecast for winter weather in central Illinois that won't be ready for public consumption until the middle of October.