From left, Kendall Robinson, 9, Taylor Smith, 9, and Taylor Robinson, 8, wait to head home after rain fell on Saugus in January. Signal photo by Dan Watson
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This winter will be a cooler, drier winter than 2016, the now-225 year old Farmer’s Almanac predicts.

Editor Tim Clark at the Almanac said winter temperatures in the Pacific Southwest region, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, will be below normal, but rainfall will be too.

The chance for precipitation does increase in the summer – to 1/10 of an inch above average.

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to rain,” Clark said.

The Almanac has been publishing annual weather reports since 1792, using a variety of traditional methods like monitoring ocean currents, but their primary weather prediction method uses solar cycles.

On average, solar cycles last 11.3 years, and the Almanac incorporates these cycles into their weather and temperature predictions.

Clark said that during a solar cycle, the energy produced by the sun and that reaches Earth goes rises and falls, and the planet is currently in a low spot in a solar cycle.

“In theory, that means cooler temperatures,” he said. But as average global temperatures continue to rise, Clark said in about 60 years, when the solar cycle swings back toward more radiant energy output, temperatures could rise even more.

The Almanac’s predictions historically hover around 80 percent correct, and reached 96 percent correct for the 2014-2015 season. But last winter, according to the latest Almanac, its predictions were only 55 percent accurate.

One thing that is sure to happen next year is the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States in more than 38 years, Clark said.

The date of the eclipse is Aug. 21, 2017.

Though it won’t be visible from Southern California as it stretches from the Oregon coast to the North Carolina coast, it will be within driving distance: the range of visibility will be nearly 140 miles wide.

In fact, the Almanac dedicates most of its pages to astronomy – after all, the word “almanac” is derived from an Arabic word that means “calendar of the heavens.”

And that, Clark said, is what makes the Almanac different from a magazine.

“It has something new to tell you about every single day,” he said.

 

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Katharine Lotze
Katharine Lotze is a photojournalist and columnist at the Signal, and can be found photographing daily life in Santa Clarita, or writing personal essays about her own daily life.
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