Here's how to prepare for the chilly winter ahead. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated December 06, 2019
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While most meteorologists only claim to be able to predict the weather accurately up to 10 days in advance, there's one source we can count on every year to at least attempt to predict how long we'll have to deal with winter: the Farmers' Almanac. Since 1818, the Farmers' Almanac has been creating long-term weather forecasts up to 16 months in advance. Originally intended to help farmers decide how to care for their crops, the forecasts can now be used to prepare our wardrobes and homes (and minds) for the potentially grueling weather ahead. And we're sorry to say, the Farmers' Almanac winter weather forecast for 2019 to 2020 is predicting abnormally chilly temperatures.

It's a "Polar Coaster" Winter

According to the forecast, this winter will be characterized by many ups and downs on the thermometer, prompting the Farmers' Almanac to declare this the "Polar Coaster Winter." And unfortunately, it doesn't sound like a fun ride. The coldest temperatures will be felt from the Northern Plains to the Great Lakes, while most of the Northeast will experience colder than normal temperatures.

When can we expect the worst of it? The biggest cold drop is expected to arrive at the end of January and last through early February.

Rain, Snow, and Wintry Mix

As if the chilly temperatures weren't enough, the eastern third of the country is also forecast to receive above-average precipitation. The Farmers' Almanac predicts this will be a combination of rain, snow, and the dreaded wintry mix. Time to get your snow boots ready!

And When Does It End?

We don't have to wait for Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow this year; according to the Farmers' Almanac, this winter will linger on until April.

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

  • Protect your pipes: Once temperatures drop, follow these steps to prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • Draft-proof windows and doors: First, check for leaky windows, then invest in a draft-stopper for under your door.
  • Check your trees: Look for branches that could potentially fall on telephone wires or your home. If needed, hire a professional to trim your trees before winter really hits.
  • Inspect the furnace: Hire an HVAC pro to make sure your furnace or boiler is in working order. It's much easier to fix any potential problems now than trying to get your heat turned back on in the middle of a snowstorm.
  • Clean the gutters: Cleaning leaves and debris from the gutters now will prevent ice dams and potential damage to your home later.