The upcoming winter will be colder than normal for most of the United States, including New England, according to the Farmers’ Almanac, a forecast that would have furnaces working overtime in some of the nation’s largest population centers.

“The days of shivery are back…A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England,” according to Farmers’ Almanac. “Coldest temperatures will be over the Northern Plains on east into the Great Lakes.

“Only for the Far West and the Southeast will there be a semblance of winter temperatures averaging close to normal, but only a few areas will enjoy many days where temperatures will average above normal.”

That forecast dovetails with recent comments from Weather Services International (WSI), which said early indications “suggest that atmospheric blocking may be favored again this winter, which would favor below-normal temperatures across significant parts of the United States,” (see Daily GPI, Aug. 21). WSI forecasters also said they expect warmer-than-normal temperatures to be in place in the Northeast and across the south-central and western areas as well in September, while the Southeast and north-central areas will average cooler than normal. That scenario could keep natural gas prices soft in New England past Halloween, according to Energy Securities Analysis Inc.

Farmers’ Almanac forecaster Caleb Weatherbee predicted above-normal precipitation for the Southern Plains, Midwest and Southeast this winter, with near normal precipitation expected for the rest of the country.

“With a combination of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation the stage will be set for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Central and Northern New England to receive lots of snow,” Weatherbee said. “Farther south, where the thermometer will be vacillating above or below the freezing mark, Southern New England, Southeast New York, New Jersey, and down through the Mid-Atlantic region will be seeing either copious rains and/or snows.”

In its extended forecast, Farmers’ Almanac said it is “red-flagging” the first 10 days of February for possible heavy winter weather, and believes that mid-March “could bring a wave of storminess stretching almost from coast to coast, bringing a wide variety of precipitation types as well as strong and gusty winds.”