Brace yourselves—it's going to be a long winter.
woman walking outside in snow
Studies show that a stroll outdoors can actually improve brain function and mental focus. Walking not only results in increased physical activity, it also promotes the free flow of ideas, according to Stanford University researchers. Another study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas​ found that backpackers scored 50 percent higher on creativity tests after spending four full days in nature without any electronics. "Burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature," co-author David Strayer said in a statement.Research also suggests that time outside can improve focus. Children with ADHD are likely to score higher on concentration tests after time outdoors. Those children who strolled through a park saw a greater increase in focus than those who walked through a residential neighborhood or urban area. 
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There may not be a polar vortex this winter, but it may be a bit wetter than usual.

The Farmers' Almanac released its yearly long-range weather predictions, and it appears that winter is definitely coming for some regions throughout the U.S. While described as "normal" as far as temperatures go, the Almanac predicted that regions throughout the United States will experience "above-normal" precipitation levels, especially in the Northeast and Southeast.

Here are the Almanac's predictions for each region:

  • Northeast: Cold conditions that will be snowier than normal are expected for states like Maine and New York.
  • Southeast: Temperatures here will be colder than usual with "an unseasonable chill" that will go as far south as the Gulf Coast.
  • South: Conditions here will be mild and soggy, with some varying temperatures in eastern Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
  • Great Plains: This region will see "the weather pendulum," as the Almanac calls it, which means it will range from very warm to very cold throughout the season. However, the snowfall won't be as harsh as usual.
  • Great Lakes: The area around the Great Lakes will be cold and snowier than usual this winter. And, keeping with stereotypes for Midwestern weather, these areas will experience swings in the temperature from warm to cold.
  • Pacific Northwest: Conditions here will be brisk and drier than usual.
  • Pacific Southwest: Not out of the ordinary, this region will have mild temperatures with average precipitation.

The Almanac has been predicting long-term weather patterns in the U.S. since 1818 based on a set of rules designed by the publications's first editor. This year will be the product's 200th year of publishing.

Without using any computer satellite equipment, the Almanac predicts weather patterns with a combination of mathematical and astronomical mechanisms, like the tidal action created by the Moon and sunspot activity. In the past, some meteorologists have disagreed with the predictions from the publication, which are typically 80 to 85 percent accurate, according to what it says its readers say.

Last year, the Almanac predicted a cold winter in the Northeast and Midwest, heavy rainfall in the Pacific Northwest and a warmer than usual winter for the Southwest—all of which ended up occurring.