After enduring a streak of record-setting summer temperatures, it might be a welcome thought exercise to forecast what winter in Texas might bring. For the many who were affected by last year’s historic freeze and devastating power-grid failure, however, the threat of another season of harsh weather extremes looms. 

If you’re seeking advice by way of a 204-year-old periodical that claims it gets things right “about 85% of the time,” you’re in luck: the Farmers’ Almanac has released its extended winter forecast for the 2022–23 season earlier than ever.

“It’s ironic because the day we released the forecast was probably the hottest day of the year for some,” said editor Peter Geiger. “We think it’s important to share earlier because, at least where I am, fuel costs have gone through the roof, and we want people to be ready and prepared for whatever’s coming their way during the winter months.”

According to this year’s forecast, Texas is in store for a “chilly” winter with “normal precipitation,” with North Texas seeing the most potential for snow and ice storms throughout the season. The Almanac predicts heavy snowfall the first week of January that is expected to reach North Texas, followed by “significant snows” for North and Central Texas the second week. 

“There are at least four or five really cold snaps that we’re expecting to see in Texas,” Geiger said. “Looks like there could be a shot of winter in November, toward the end of December, and then January looks like a fairly cold month in particular, with February decidedly colder.”

Last year’s freeze and power-grid failure hit Texas during mid-February. If you’re curious, the Farmers’ Almanac did predict heavy snow for much of Texas during February 2021, but the forecast didn’t accurately predict the exact timing or severity of the storm. For next February, the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting some snow during the first two weeks for Texas and a “stormy holiday weekend” following Valentine’s Day. While the Almanac says next winter will be filled with “plenty of shaking, shivering, and shoveling” across the country, the brunt of the cold is expected to be felt by those residing in northern states, particularly in the north central region. 

In terms of what “chilly” or “significant snow” means in a measurable sense, the Almanac notoriously doesn’t provide sliding scales or inch estimates and shies away from defining forecast descriptors in numerical terms.   

Curious about the methodology behind the forecasts? You might have to remain so. The periodical’s website admits that “weather forecasting, and long-range forecasting, in particular, remains an inexact science,” but it claims the formula it utilizes, developed in 1818 by the Almanac’s first editor, is accurate more often than not and “takes into consideration things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, the position of the planets, and a variety of other factors.” Reportedly, only the Almanac’s weather prognosticator, who goes by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee, knows the exact formula.

There’s a chance that you’ve already seen the latest forecast issued by the Farmers’ Almanac, because, as Geiger proudly notes, the periodical’s largest readership resides in Texas, with California coming in a close second.

“Texas is such an interesting state because, obviously, you’re large, but you’re also very dependent on agriculture and the weather,” Geiger said. “I think people in Texas like the outdoors and the green environment. I think they’re very interested in what’s going on above us in the sky; we have a fishing calendar—I think there’s a lot of interest there, too.” Geiger clarifies that only 8 percent of the Almanac covers weather and extended forecasts, while the rest provides readers tips and tricks for things like gardening, stargazing, cooking, and caring for animals. “It’s about weather, but really, it’s about life. That’s what we hopefully do for people.”

“I almost want to say the Almanac is a safe place to go. You know, it’s not political,” Geiger said, when asked how he thinks readers utilize the periodical. “We don’t deal with the day-to-day drama that people get in the regular news. Whether it’s agricultural or raising chickens, or what you can do with leftover clothes, I think people come to us for the breadth of information we have, and the simplicity . . . the simple way we present it.” 

With entire weeks forecast in broad and general descriptors like “Fair, cold, then unsettled,” Geiger isn’t overstating the simplistic aspect. The forecasts often read like weather astrology: easily molded to the reader’s interpretation and, as with phrases like “increasingly cloudy,” usually dependent on the context of the preceding weather conditions. But the appeal is evident. The forecasts put words to weeks far ahead and weather conditions entirely unknown. 

Even if those words are simply, as with the third week in January 2023, “Cold Texas.”