After a year of unprecedented warmth – both during the winter and summer months – the great debate over whether or not Old Man Winter will return with a vengeance is on. Last winter was the fourth warmest for the 48 contiguous states since record keeping began in 1895, with 24 states experiencing below-normal precipitation. The new 2013 Farmers’ Almanac says winter will return to some – but not all – areas. Managing Editor Sandy Duncan says the Almanac is predicting a mild winter with average precipitation for this part of the country. Still, she says there will be a lack of snow here. She says the forecasts indicate there will likely be a “good among” while perhaps not a record amount. In the broader picture, Duncan says the winter will likely help the drought conditions but probably will not solve the shortage of precipitation. Duncan says the Farmers’ Almanac weather predictions date back to 1818 and are formula-based. It is a mathematical and astronomical formula which as been tweeked over the last 196 years by the seven prognosticators who have been responsible for the predictions. Overall, she says it looks at such things as sunspot activity, lunar cycles, positions of the planets and a variety of other factors she was reluctant to share. Fans of the Almanac say its famous long-range forecast is accurate between 80 and 85 percent of the time. The Farmers’ Almanac with its familiar orange and green cover and tips on gardening recipes and more is again available at grocery stores and bookstores nationwide.