(Editor’s note: Last week, the Paris Express approached Paris Middle School science teacher June Gilbreath and asked her to forecast this winter’s weather. Here’s the forecast.)

The predictions for our winter weather this year are all over the map. Pick the one you like best or throw a dart at them.

Farmers’ Almanac, the Weather Channel, NOAA and Snowbird Bob are wildly different.

The Weather Channel says we will have slightly below average temperatures and wetter than normal precipitation. NOAA is predicting that we will be under the influence of an El Nino which usually means colder and wetter weather for us. Snowbird Bob says we will be in a winter battle zone with above average snowfall.

Farmers’ Almanac is considered top dog when it comes to weather forecasting. They use a specific and reliable set of rules that were developed back in 1818 by David Young. These rules have been altered slightly and turned into a formula that is both mathematical and astronomical.

The formula takes things like sunspot activity, position of the planets, tidal action of the Moon, and a variety of other factors into consideration. This formula is a closely guarded brand secret. This formula has been time-tested, challenged and approved for 200 years. Farmers’ Almanac predicts that we will have wild swings over the winter from very warm to stinging cold and from clear to stormy. Over-all it will be a warmer than normal winter and wetter than normal. Snowfall will be below average.

For a frame of reference, the average temperatures, rainfall and snowfall for this area are the following for the months of December through February: average high temperatures run in the low 50s; average low temperatures run in the low 30s; average rainfall each month is three inches and average snowfall is 2.4 inches.

Maybe we would have better luck if we went the “folk lore” route: thicker shells on acorns, thicker corn husks, bigger pine cones, thicker fur on animals, early bird migration and bees nesting in trees all mean a severe winter with lots of snow. You might want to check the persimmons for the spoon, fork or knife. The spoon means plenty of snow to shovel. The fork means a mild winter with powdery, light snow. The knife means frigid winds that will cut like a blade.