Farmers Almanac – Extended weather predictions tricky

There's been a lot of speculation in Aiken concerning the Old Farmer's Almanac's 2014 weather predictions for S.C. and the threat of another snow or ice storm.

During last week's ice storm, the Almanac predicted from Feb. 7 to 14 there would be periods of rain and snow, then sunny and cold conditions. This week, Feb. 15 to 20, the Almanac predicted periods of rain, then sunny and cold conditions. While the National Weather Service in Columbia predicts forecasts only on a day-to-day basis for seven days, meteorologist Dan Miller said looking at end of the month weather predictions can be hard.

“It looks like the official forecast, which goes through Thursday (of next week) is basically showing maybe slightly below normal temperatures behind a cold front that is expected to come through sometime around the early part of the week - but not a very strong cold front,” Miller said.

Miller said these predictions come from the Climate Prediction Center in Washington, D.C. From Feb. 21 to 26, the Almanac predicts periods of rain to snow, then sunny and cold conditions. From Feb. 27 to 28, the Almanac periods of rain and cool weather.

But Miller said, without going too heavy into specifics, snow may be off the table.

“There is a cold strong Canadian air mass coming down into the eastern half of the country by very late in the week or next weekend ... record breaking cold temperatures would be hard to determine at this time ... We do have that cool front early part of the week,” he said.

One of the extreme measures Clearwater resident Jennifer Lariscey had to take during the eight days of power loss at her house was helping her children do homework by sitting on the front porch and aiming a flashlight at the textbook.


Lariscey's family lost power last Wednesday, Feb. 12, and had to cope without it until Wednesday around 7 p.m.


“We didn't have (a generator), but the night before our power was turned back on, our neighbor ran an extension cord across the road to us when he saw me helping my son with his homework with a flashlight,” she said.


After losing power last Wednesday, the family – which includes Duane and Jennifer Lariscey, their four children and Jennifer's mother – battled for a few days before checking into a hotel over the weekend, hoping they would regain electricity before they returned home on Monday.


Jennifer said she saw several families at the hotel that were in the same position as hers. Like other families, the severity of the storm caught her family off guard.


“I was very unprepared,” she said. “They always exaggerate our storms so I didn't do any prep work.”


Before the power came back on, the family had to do laundry and take showers at friends' and families' homes. To stay warm, Jennifer said she, her husband and their children all slept in the same bed.


In addition, the family was forced to eat out more than usual since they couldn't cook at their house.


“When we first lost power and the conditions were bad, we were just hoping Waffle House was open,” he said. “We had to eat a lot of fast food. It's not the healthiest but it got the job done.”


One of the other major issues was keeping the kids entertained, Duane added. The tree limbs and downed power lines have blocked the kids' trampoline in the backyard, which had left them with little to do. Still, Jennifer said they were doing well under the circumstances.


“They aren't upset about the dark. They are upset because they couldn't play their Playstation,” she added.


Thousands and thousands of Aiken County residents lost power during last week's ice storm. SCE&G, Aiken Electric Cooperative and crews from out of state have been working around the clock since then to restore power to those who lost many creature comforts – light, heat, air conditioning and refrigeration.


During that time, friends and families were pulling together to help each other out, which is something Jennifer said she'll never forget.


“I really loved seeing how the community came together and helped each other,” she said. “I will never forget the offers of help when I was almost in tears because I wasn't sure how I would keep my kids warm or find an open store or restaurant to feed them.”