If the Farmer’s Almanac predicted that we’re going to have a really bad winter this year, would you be worried? Probably not. It’s likely that you don’t hold the Farmer’s Almanac in high esteem as a long-range meteorological prognosticator.
So it won’t bother you a bit if I tell you that the Almanac IS predicting that we’re in for a very rough winter, right? Won’t bother you in the least, will it?
Because in fact, the Farmer’s Almanac really is predicting that we’re in for a very cold, very snowy winter. But you don’t care, right?
But What About Their Secret Formula?
Would it sway your opinion of the Almanac as a weather authority if you knew that they have a “secret formula” for prognosticating weather?
No? Me neither.
Still, it’s kind of interesting.
As noted tongue-in-cheek (I think!) on the Almanac’s website, they don’t use groundhogs to predict the weather. Neither do they use high-powered supercomputers.
Instead, they use a “secret astronomical and mathematical formula.” They won’t divulge the details, of course – can’t do that, cause after all, it’s a ‘secret’ formula. But there are many inputs that go into calculating the formula; things like moon phases, tidal action, sunspot activity, and more.
Apparently the formula is carefully passed from specially designated formulators, generation after generation. Each generation of formulators carefully crafts the Almanac’s yearly weather prognostications without letting slip any of the secret details of the formula.
And the Almanac also advises that you can get a pretty good idea of what the winter will be like by observing things like pig spleens, wooly bear caterpillars, and persimmon seeds. Thought you’d want to know.
Lot’s of People Are Interested
The formula has been in use for nearly 200 years, so it’s well tested. But mainstream scientists, of course, consider the Almanac’s long-range weather predictions to be a joke.
And perhaps most people consider the Almanac’s predictions to be a joke. Maybe that’s why the Almanac sells around 3 million copies every single year. Lot’s of people enjoy a good joke, after all.
But in truth, many people put lots of store in the Almanac’s predictions. These people believe that the Almanac has proven over the centuries that its predictions are worth at least considering.
And indeed, the Almanac claims an accuracy range in the neighborhood of 80-85 percent. And that accuracy range, if true, would compare quite well with the accuracy rate of long-range forecasts made by ‘real’ meteorologists.
No Harm in Being Prepared
We’re not saying that the Almanac is a reliable resource for weather forecasts, of course. We just thought you’d be interested in their forecast for this winter. Because as we noted above, even if you think it’s a joke, lots of people enjoy a good joke.
But if it should turn out to be a horrendous winter, with massive amounts of snowfall – well, that won’t be so funny. And for those of us that haven’t prepared properly – buying TLC’s Snow Removal Insurance, for example – the joke will sort of be on us.
Because whether you’re getting your weather forecasts from the Almanac, CNN, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one thing’s for certain: there’s no harm in being prepared