A snow shoveler and snow blower team up while clearing a Portland sidewalk on March 4 during a late season storm. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Farmers’ Almanac has released its Winter 2024 extended weather forecast, saying the next few months will be cold and snowy in Maine.

The forecast doesn’t say the weather will be colder and snowier than normal, but it does confidently predict cold temperatures and snow in northern New England as soon as the  first week of November.

The publication attributes the coming cold and snow to El Niño, a phenomenon that causes the Pacific jet stream to move south of its neutral location and is typically associated with warmer temperatures. This winter will be the first time in four years that El Niño will be making its return.

The Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, released its U.S. Winter Outlook on Thursday. The outlook, which predicts weather for December, January and February, shows predicted above-average temperatures and equal chances of above and below average precipitation in Maine.

“What that doesn’t tell us is what kind of precipitation will fall,” said Louise Fode from the National Weather Service office in Caribou. “So even if we have a warmer-than-average time period, we can still have snowfall.”

Fode made sure to note that her agency’s predictions don’t measure how much warmer temperatures will be, just that they are likely to be warmer than average. And, of course, there are still chances for winter storms, so Mainers should remain prepared.

The 2023-2024 winter temperature outlook from the National Weather Service. Credit: Courtesy of National Weather Service

The National Weather Service said El Niño should send warmer temperatures to the North, while Farmers’ Almanac predicts El Niño will bring snow, sleet and ice our way.

Farmers’ Almanac also predicts storms in New England in certain weeks, like in the second week of February, the first week of March and again in mid-April.

Farmers’ Almanac is one of the oldest ongoing publications in America, first publishing in 1818. According to its weather forecast, it uses a “tried-and-true forecast formula,” developed in 1818 by its founding editor, David Young. The formula takes into account past weather patterns, current conditions, sunspot activity and tidal action. To protect the formula, the publication claims to keep it secret.

Climate models, surface stations and satellite data inform the forecasters at the National Weather Service, according to its website. It claims it collects and analyzes 6.3 billion observations per day, and forecasters use “individual scientific expertise” to build their predictions.

The National Weather Service will update its winter predictions on Nov. 16.

Jules Walkup reports on the midcoast and is a Report for America corps member. They graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and moved to Maine from Tampa, Florida in July 2023.