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Cold comfort: Farmers' Almanac predicts frigid winter ahead

Emma Lewis, 8, from left, Norah Lewis, 10, and Caleigh Gabriel, 9, stand under the rain of their water toys Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, on the 1500 block of 10th Street South, Fargo. With the local elementary closed due to a heat wave, friends got together to beat the heat with a squirt-gun fight. Wednesday's temperatures are expected to be similarly in the low 90s.

FARGO - The region's run of late-summer temperatures in the 90s has Mary Cannon smiling.

The owner of Fargo's Moler Barber College says she's a summer person.

"I'd rather have summer nine months of the year and three months of winter," Cannon said, as she walked downtown Fargo with a bushel basket of peppers and other garden goodies. "I wish summer and winter were flipped around."

A block to the south on Broadway, Rhoda Faleide said she's ready to say goodbye to heat, humidity and sweat, and say hello to sweaters and snow banks.

"As long as it's not ice, I don't mind it. I prefer winter more than this hot summer," the Fargo woman said.

If you're a fan of the Farmers' Almanac, then it looks like Faleide will be the winner.

Forget these sunny skies and baking your bones. The Almanac promises Minnesotans and North Dakotans who love all things sub-Arctic a winter with plenty of "piercing cold" and below-normal temperatures.

Combined with above-normal precipitation, the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Central and Northern New England will see lots of snow, the Almanac predicts.

And the winter party won't be confined to the Midwest. This year's Super Bowl, set for MetLife Stadium in New Jersey's Meadowlands, could be the first-ever Blizzard Bowl, according to the Almanac's prognosticator, Caleb Weatherbee.

About two-thirds of the nation should be chillier than normal, the Almanac says, giving only the far West and Southeast something close to normal winter temperatures.

Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois will be among states with "biting cold." New England will be "bitterly cold."

Take that, heat wave! Frostbite, here we come!

The Almanac predicts "significant snowfalls ... for parts of every zone.

"Over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, we are 'red-flagging' the first 10 days of February for possible heavy winter weather," the Almanac says.

The Almanac notes that Super Bowl XLVIII will be played Feb. 2. "We are forecasting stormy weather for this, the biggest of sporting venues."

But if you ask the local weather experts, it may be a bit early to tune up your snowblower and bring the parka to the front of the closet.

Mark Frazier, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, said the government won't put out its winter weather outlook until late September or early October.

He said a lot of our winter weather is driven by warming and cooling trends in the Pacific Ocean, and weather patterns in the Arctic. It's too early to determine any trends usable for long-term forecasts, he said.

At WDAY-TV, chief meteorologist John Wheeler said he used to track the predictions of the Old Farmers' Almanac, another popular publication, but came to the conclusion that their claims of 80 percent accuracy involved "some creative interpretation."

"I wouldn't put much stock in it," he said.

Like Frazier, Wheeler said the weather patterns that determine our weather can be volatile, even flipping in midseason.

Wheeler said the Almanac has one thing absolutely right.

"By standards set in most of the world, anyplace in Fargo-Moorhead has piercing cold" in the winter.

And he made one take-it-to-the-bank prediction for this, the land of the wind-chill factor.

"It's going to get colder," Wheeler said. "Winter is certainly coming."