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Winter weather: Frequent snowfalls in December and January - or so they say

Monday, October 31, 2005

One of weather's longest running forecasters, "The Old Farmer's Almanac," is out with its 2006 edition.

Look for frequent snowfalls in December and January with exceptionally cold temperatures, according to the almanac.

"The heaviest widespread snowfall (for our region) will occur in late January, with other major snowfalls in early mid- and late- December; in mid-January; and in early March," says the 214-year-old publication.

The publication that began in 1792 is based on science, John Pierce, publisher, told The Seattle Times for an Oct. 20 report.

Last year, the almanac warned of heightened earthquake activity around Christmas. It was on Dec. 26 that an underwater earthquake caused the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. It also warned readers of strange and severe weather patterns -- which some may say describe this year's numerous hurricanes.

So, what else does the almanac say about our weather, in Region 6, stretching from west of Chicago to north of Syracuse, N.Y.? (We're on the southern edge.)

"The summer season will be cooler than normal with near-normal rainfall."

"The Old Farmer's Almanac" contains information you won't find in many publications, including planting tables and "zodiac secrets."

A quick look at this year's edition shows:

- What homeowners want most -- outdoor bedrooms for sleeping under the stars and rooms dedicated to specific uses

- Tools on loan -- some public libraries are adding tools to books and DVDs on loan (the practice isn't new; it dates back to World War II).

- Gambling is on the rise -- including the opportunity to bet on things that won't be settled for a very long time, such as, "By 2020, travel tickets to the moon will be sold over the counter," "By 2050, we will receive intelligent signals from outside our solar system" and "At least one human alive in the year 2000 will still be alive in 2150."

- How to successfully grow your own peaches

- Earliest and latest frost dates -- April 22 and Oct. 20 at Indianapolis, the location nearest Clay County.

- Many gardening tips

- "Ancient traditions of Halloween"

- A guide to eating nutrious weeds

- "Best fishing days and times"

Then there are the advertisements -- usually as interesting as the articles:

- A battery-operated electric mower for small lawns

- A flowering tree "zooms" to 12 feet in one season, then up to 65 feet tall

- A soapstone wood stove and - An "herbal extract formula" to support your immune system

"The Old Farmer's 2006 Almanac" is available at many stores that sell books and magazines.

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