Even though autumn isn't yet officially here, predictions are flying thick and fast about the winter of 2014-15.

After the extended snowfall and cold temperatures of last winter, everyone wants to know what the coming season has in store.

Probably the most anticipated winter forecast perennially comes from the Old Farmer's Almanac. For northeast Missouri and western Illinois, they say this winter will below normal in temperature, precipitation and snowfall. They say the coldest periods will come in early December and then from mid-December through mid-January. The snowiest times are predicted to happen in mid-December, early February and most of March.

The website First Hand Weather agrees that temperatures will be below average for our portion of the midwest. They say, however, that snowfall and precipitation will be at or above average. They cite the lack of a strong El Nino coming from the Pacific as the reason for the thermometer to drop below average.

Or, if you like your forecast a little more folksy, just pay attention to the woolly worms on the roadways in the fall. Folklore says the darker the woolly worms are, the more severe the coming winter. The ones I've seen so far have been fairly dark, although a blogger named John Belski who professes to be an authority on woolly worms says you shouldn't start paying attention to the woolly worms as an accurate predictor until at least October.

Judging from what the prognosticators are saying, the coming winter will have its moments, but shouldn't be quite as memorable as the winter of 2013-14.

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