The healthy year-over-year natural gas storage surplus could be slimmed down rapidly this winter — putting upward pressure on natural gas prices — if the 2007 Farmers’ Almanac weather forecast holds up. “Shivery is not dead,” editor Peter Geiger said, alluding to the winter weather forecast in the latest edition of the 188-year-old publication.

After a brutally hot summer in most of the country, the 2007 Farmers’ Almanac predicts a cold winter from coast to coast for the U.S.

“While global warming has taken up much of our attention (as well as news coverage), our winter predictions are pointing towards widespread cold from coast to coast, especially for the western sections of the country,” said Geiger. “The cold may not be as frigid as 30 or 40 years ago, but we do expect this to be the coldest winter we’ve seen for quite a few years.” And, after last year’s unusual warmth, this chill might make winter harder than usual, he added.

The publication predicts frigid temperatures, as much as 20 degrees below seasonal norms (and nearly 40 degrees colder than last winter), for Montana, the Dakotas and parts of Wyoming. For the Gulf Coast up through New England, unseasonably cold, or “shivery” conditions are expected.

More snow than normal is also forecast for the nation’s midsection, parts of New England, and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. “The Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley may be the only area spared the extreme cold,” said Sandi Duncan, managing editor, “but this is not to say this area won’t be without its cold spells and significant snowfalls.”

The Farmers’ Almanac, which claims 80-85% accuracy, has been providing long-range weather predictions every year since 1818 and bases its forecasts on a “top secret” mathematical and astronomical formula. Last winter, the Farmers’ Almanac had forewarned of a “polar coaster” winter, with lots of fluctuations on the thermometer (see Daily GPI, Sept. 14, 2005). While the winter warmth and lack of snow in many areas made headlines, the 2007 Farmers’ Almanac uses New York City as an example of its polar coaster prediction’s accuracy. According to the publication, “The [New York] city experienced one of its driest and mildest winters in recent years, yet it also received more than 40 inches of snow. This was the fourth consecutive year that a snowfall total of at least 40 inches was recorded.”

Looking past the 2007 winter, the publication said things could definitely thaw out come summer. The 2007 Farmers’ Almanac, which includes 16 months (September 2006 through December 2007) of zoned weather predictions, is also calling for a very warm and dry summer for most areas of the country, with the potential for drought.

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