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Hagerstown almanac predicts less snow, colder temps

October 01, 2005|By DAVID DISHNEAU

HAGERSTOWN

Mittens will see more action than snow shovels in the mid-Atlantic this winter, the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack predicts.

Colder-than-average temperatures will prevail in January and February, but the season's snowfall will be below normal, the nation's second-oldest continuously published periodical says in its 209th edition.

The 64-page booklet also contains gardening and handyman tips, poems submitted by readers and an Internet advice column that editor Charles W. Fisher Jr., a descendant of founder John Gruber, started in 2002.

Fisher, of Newtown, Pa., said Friday that he loves the reader contributions. But many readers turn first to the weather predictions of William O'Toole, a math and computer science professor at Mount St. Mary's University in nearby Emmitsburg, Md.

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O'Toole predicts that 35 inches of snow will fall from Dec. 1 through March 23 at his house near the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line, or about 8 percent less than normal. Last year, O'Toole measured just 25.2 inches of snow - well short of the 42 he predicted.

"It was about half a winter," he wrote of the 2004-05 season.

O'Toole said temperatures will be below average in January and February, but near average in December and March.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said there is an equal chance of above- and below-normal temperatures and precipitation in the region from December through March.

The Hagerstown almanac, launched in 1797, is distributed in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

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