Today, Wednesday, September 22, marks the first official day of fall or autumn, whichever term you choose to use, and the undeniable truth is winter is not far behind.

Environment Canada has said that Alberta will enjoy a warmer than normal fall season for September to November.

As we look towards winter we turn to an old reliable favourite, The Old Farmer’s Almanac which has been predicting the weather for 230 years.

Touting an 80 per cent accuracy rate, The Old Farmer's Almanac offers insight into what lies ahead weatherwise and how we should prepare for the winter of 2021/22.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is describing the upcoming winter season as “Weather the Storms".

Jack Burnett, Managing Editor with the Old Farmer’s Almanac says, “We expect there to be a lot of contrast between the weather in the southern part of the country and up north. Because of the warmer ocean temperatures, we will see more storminess.” What that means for the Cochrane area and much of the lower prairies is a milder and wetter winter.

Burnett admits, “I hate to use the word ‘mild’ because winter in Cochrane is not going to be mild, we all know that but it’s not going to be ever so slightly not so cold and it’s going to ever so slightly wetter as opposed to snowier. So, there’s going to be more precipitation but slightly less of it is going to be in the form of snow.” That means more than normal sleet and freezing rain. However, this doesn’t mean that snow is completely out of the forecast as it is predicted that we will see major snowstorms on the Prairies in late November, mid-January, and early March.

As for cold temperatures, the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts the very end of December, all through January, except for the second week, is when we should plan on bundling up. The good news is that the Almanac does not foresee, as Burnett puts it, “Any really heavy, long-term deep freeze setting in after January.”

The big snow dumps are expected at the end of November, the middle of January, and the beginning of March.

How you choose to decipher the Old Farmer’s Almanac predictions, you can rest assured that right or wrong it will remain a topic of conversation because the weather always gives us something to talk about.

Burnett says they encourage folks to buy the famous yellow-jacketed periodical locally. He says that there are many from our area that subscribe to it and visit the Old Farmer's Almanac website.