Terry Mackin: Winter prediction -- Cold with a chance of winning teams

October 6, 2013 

Enjoy fall's pumpkin weather because we'll be wearing our warmest coats and snow boots a lot this coming winter.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, the Midwest should prepare for below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation this winter. Significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone in the country. It still could be snowing heavily in March 2014.

Over the years, the Farmer's Almanac has predicted tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and droughts. The popular publication claims an accuracy rate of about 80 to 85 percent.

Football fans: The Farmers Almanac is "red-flagging" the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states for the first 10 days of February for possible heavy "particularly volatile and especially turbulent" winter weather. On Feb. 2, Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey's Meadowlands -- the first time a Super Bowl will be played outdoors in a typically cold weather environment. The game could be played in wind, rain and snow, says the Farmer's Almanac.

Confession: I've never bought nor read a Farmer's Almanac. But I grew up with it as the source of the weather world. Well before the Weather Channel. The best way to predict the weather was to open up a window or walk outdoors, look up into the sky and look for clouds. We knew it was fall when someone old said, "Farmer's Almanac says it's gonna be a cold winter. Better put a bag of sand and some tire chains in the trunk."

I have always envisioned a team of old farmers sitting around a table of haystacks, predicting the weather. But the almanac's formula is supplemented by weather data, computers, historical patterns, sunspots, planet positions and the tidal pull of the moon.

You know -- all those courses I never took in high school or college and I'm still grateful today.

Farmer's Almanac aside, here are a few non-weather predictions for winter 2013-14 from this city guy with a good farmer's tan who really enjoys a harvest moon and would really enjoy an occasional snow day this winter:

* Cold weather or not, the St. Louis Rams will not be playing in Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.

*Who will win the Super Bowl? I will go out on a limb here. A team that has won it before.

* Who will win the World Series?No jinxes here. But the Cards will have a fun run.

* Cub fans will rebound. By late January, with a new manager in place, they will be proclaiming that 2014 is their year -- you just wait and see.

* Basketball season will begin, and on a cold January night, I'll tell the poor soul seated next to me in a high school gym why I think the 15-foot perimeter shot is the lost art of basketball.

* The St Louis Blues will make the playoffs. No predictions about a Stanley Cup parade. But I have a good feeling about this team, coaches and local ownership group.

* First hints of snowfall will occur in January. People will make a panicked run on milk and bread at the local supermarkets. The lead story on the local TV news features a shivering, wind-blown reporter standing on an interstate overpass debating whether the local roadways will be drivable at morning rush hour.

* The next day, roadways are drivable and grocery stores do not run out of milk and bread.

* As I prepare to shovel my driveway, at least one person will warn me to be careful because "guys your age have heart attacks shoveling snow in the driveway, you know." Then they'll giggle. I hate that giggle.

* I will make a snowball, chuck it against a tree, call it a strike and count down the days until spring training begins.

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