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The Farmer's Almanac-Best Accuracy Rate in Weather Prediction?

Updated on October 9, 2010

I Left My Snow Shovel In Maryland

I moved to southern California last October. Looks as if I left just in time! I had a feeling that it was going to be a bad winter for Maryland, and it seems I was right.

I was shocked when December's snowstorm dumped about a foot and a half of snow in Montgomery County. But the storm that raged yesterday may be the grand-daddy of all of Maryland's snow storms. This storm was expected to bring 2 to 3 feet of snow! Maryland has not seen over 2 feet of snow since 1922. George Washington recorded 3 feet of snow in one of his journals, a phenomenon not seen since the days of official weather recording. (NOTE: The storm blanketed the DC area with up to 32 inches of snow...WOW!)

I would not have been as amazed if I had simply read The Farmer's Almanac. The Farmer's Almanac predicted major snow fall for the Mid-Atlantic states in mid-February. This lead me to wonder just how accurate The Farmer's Almanac's predictions were.

What is a Farmer's Almanac

An almanac, in general, is a yearly collection of events published as a book. Farmer's almanacs will contain information regarding events, such as holidays and anniversaries, and phenomenons, such as the time the sun rises and sets, high and low tides, and the phases of the moon. Farmer's almanacs also contain long-term weather predictions, information on the best time to plant crops and tips on fishing, gardening and cooking. Interspersed with these facts are humorous and witty sayings, trivia, advice and trends.

Prior to television and the local news, people would use an almanac to determine what the weather was going to be. Although almanacs do not give specific dates, they do give date ranges, as in the prediction of heavy snow-fall during mid-February in the mid-Atlantic states. Almanacs are said to have an 80-85% accuracy rate in determining the weather.

How Does The Farmer's Almanac Predict the Weather?

The Farmer's Almanac uses a formula invented by it's founder David Young in the early 1800's. This formula relies on information taken from "sunspots, moon phases, and other astronomical and atmospheric factors and conditions". The formula is a closely guarded secret. Not even the name of the current forecaster is released. All of The Farmer's Almanac forecasters have gone by the name of "Caleb Weatherbee" since the death of David Young.

Interestingly, The Farmer's Almanac calls it's forecaster a "weather prognosticator". To prognosticate is to foretell or prophesy. A few of the synonyms listed on are "prophet, seer, visionary". The main difference between a prophet and a prognosticator is that a prognosticator bases his prophesies on current indicators and facts. Due to the difficulty in predicting the weather, I guess prognosticator is a very good name.

The Farmer's Almanac's weather prognosticator makes predictions two years in advance. states the local weather is right about 65% of the time when forecasting the weather 3-5 days away. The accuracy rate drops to 55%-65% for forecasts greater than 7 days away. It seems amazing to me that The Farmer's Almanac can be correct two years in advance, when the latest technology maintains such a low percentage of correctness. I guess this is why 56% of people surveyed trusted The Farmer's Almanac's forecast over the National Weather Services.

Who Do You Trust?

The weather forecasting service I trust most is:

See results

The Farmer's Almanac's take on Global Warming

Caleb Weatherbee, in an interview, stated, "Surprisingly, we really haven't noticed any effects of climate change, at least from the standpoint of our issuance of annual forecasts...Through it all, we here at the Farmers' Almanac have just continued to keep doing what we always have been doing. To us, we recognize that some of our human behavior should be more responsible when it comes to this planet we’re living on, but overall, the theories of climate change and global warming have not affected the way we make our forecasts." It seems that The Farmer's Almanac does not find global warming to have a significant effect on the weather.

In an article written by Caleb Weatherbee he states that we may see more global cooling than global warming in the years to come. Part of the cooling trend is due to a decrease in sunspot activity. As cold as it's been throughout the world this winter I have to believe him.

Interesting Facts About Global Warming

Here are some interesting facts that I have learned:

  1. Glaciers in Alaska expanded instead of shrinking.
  2. The Arctic ice-cap increased by 13% in 2008.
  3. The polar bear population has been increasing.
  4. No new global warming has occurred since 1998.
  5. Over 31,000 scientists world-wide have signed a petition stating man's impact on global warning has not been proven.
  6. Researchers working to prove the global warming theory have hidden and/or destroyed data that proves temperatures have been declining.
  7. CO2 is good for the environment.


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    • profile image

      Michael W 7 years ago

      I do believe that man does some damage to the world. To say man is the cause of global warming is moroanic. The world has went through so many changes in the billions of years it has been around. It truly does not matter what we do. The planet will do what it is going to do. The sun and the planets have more to do the long term weather patterns than anything man can do.

      The governments of the world that are involved the scam of man made global warming are only interested in control and tax money. The regulations that are being put into place will only cause the people of these countries mostly the USA to pay more money for power in every form. It will cause the poor and middle classes to struggle more and more just to make it day to day. Which is the true reason for the scam.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 7 years ago from Ohio

      I feel we are manipulated to distract us. I think most people care much, but just as a few own most of the money, there are a few who care little. Most of us need to live in the environment we create...pity we aren't actually the ones creating it. WE would change things. Blessings back! :D

    • Loves To Read profile image

      Loves To Read 7 years ago

      k@ri this is a great and interesting hub. It proves to me that the Government bodies will stop at nothing to manipulate the public so that they can charge more taxes. God created everything in perfect harmony and balance. Yes man is doing so much damage to our Earth but what gives them the right to tell us as the public we are destroying the planet when just blasting one rocket into space does more harm than millions of people would do in an era.


    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      TINA V, You should check them out, they are very fun to read. Almanacs are not just about the weather! :D

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 8 years ago

      I heard about Farmer's Almanac but I haven't really check it out. Great hub!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      LOL rose!

      Dolores, Snowball fights, snowmen and snow angels are all's the shoveling I don't miss! I guess I'll just suffer away here in the sun (LOL). I hope you are keeping warm!

      dragonbear, I agree, technology is wonderful, but listening and observing is becoming an obsolete skill.

    • dragonbear profile image

      dragonbear 8 years ago from Essex UK

      Great hub; I think we have forgotten so much in our rush for science and development - listening to and observing nature can tell us so much more sometimes.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well, you missed all the fun, K@ri. It's February 23, it's been 40 degrees for several days and we still have huge piles of snow here in your old home state. The DC snow ball fight was pretty funny til the police started waving guns around.

    • rose06 profile image

      rose06 8 years ago

      image cat=u r face,,,,,,,,,haha

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Michael, It seems many older people use them, but they are very amusing!

      jill, Usually they have almanacs in all areas. I think The Farmer's Almanac only covers the US, but I could be wrong. :D

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

      I have heard about the Farmer's Almanac but I have yet to see one. Are the observations and predictions global in scope or is it just limited to the USA and neighboring areas?

      I remember my grandfather talking about an almanac before but as I said I have yet to see one.

      Thanks for this interesting hub.

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Awesome Hub!!! My grandparents always used these....

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      sheila, I hear it's going to be HOT! :D

      Lucky, The Farmer's Almanac is great fun! Not only does it give you the weather, but it also has many interesting articles. I love it. :D

    • Lucky621 profile image

      Lucky621 8 years ago from The Sunshine State

      This is great! I have always seen the Farmers Almanacs in the store - but never knew how they were compiled. I'm going to have to invest in one.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 8 years ago

      I would read more about the Farmers Almanac if you wrote it. What should we expect for summer?