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Farmers’ Almanac releases winter outlook, inaccurate history in recent years for Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It is that time of year once again. The Farmers’ Almanac has released its winter outlook for the 2023-24 season. Headlined by “The BRRR is Back”, it is calling for Indiana to be “cold, stormy” this winter.

Meteorological winter runs from December to February, but this outlook also includes the month of March.


How has this outlook done in previous years for central Indiana?

Well, the short answer is extremely poor within the last 5 years. The predictions are listed below with many of them being somewhat similar. Most seemed to have called for below-normal temperatures with below-average snowfall or precipitation. NOAA’s 1991-2020 climate normals are used from December to March to see if the outlook lined up.

For an average December to March, Indianapolis received 24.4″ of snow along with an average temperature of 34.2 degrees.

Last winter (2022-23) the prediction was for an “unreasonably cold, snowy” winter. Temperatures ran well above average (38.2 degrees, 4 degrees above average) with minimal snowfall (7.2″, -17.2 below average) for most of the winter.

In four of the last five years, the outlook has not been correct regarding precipitation/snowfall or average temperatures within its forecasted months. In the 2018-19 winter, the outlook was barely correct on the below-normal temperatures.

In recent winters, our temperatures have been consistently running above average with below-normal snowfall, at least for Indianapolis. The last time Indianapolis had snowfall from December to March close to average was in the 2020-21 winter.

These types of outlooks are fun to look at, but clearly predictions this far away from winter have not done better than a coin flip.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac outlook for this winter will be released later this month and the NOAA outlook usually comes late October or November. NOAA’s outlook has performed the best for central Indiana in recent winters.

It is also worth mentioning that we will be in an El-niño this winter. For Indiana, an El-Niño on average showcases a warmer and more dry winter for us. However, that is of course not always going to be the case.

Stay tuned for further updates and you can always find the near-term 8-day forecast within our Weather Blog here.