Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Farmer's Almanac forecast vs. reality in December

By Jason Samenow

Want to know why neither I, nor any meteorologist I know, assign any legitimacy to the Old Farmer's Almanac weather predictions? See this table:

Date Farmer's Almanac Prediction Reality
Dec. 1-6 Sunny, then rain, mild Rain, mild then sunny, cold
Dec. 7-10 Snow north, showers south Dry and cold
Dec. 11-16 Sunny, cold Rain then cold then snow
Dec. 17-19 Rainy, mild Sunny, cold
Dec. 20-25 Sunny; cold, then mild Sunny, seasonably cold
Dec. 26-28 Rain, then sunny, mild Light snow, then sunny, windy
Dec. 29-31 Rain, mild Sunny, mild

So pretty much whatever the Almanac predicted for the Atlantic corridor (from Richmond to Boston, including Washington, D.C.), the weather did the opposite...

Now to the Almanac's credit, it did correctly predict that temperatures and precipitation would be below average for the month. In fact, it nailed the precipitation forecast, predicting 2.0" (1" below average) when we got 1.8". Its temperature forecast for the month of 1 degree below average was off by about 4 degrees (it was 5 degrees colder than average), but - like Capital Weather Gang's Winter Outlook - at least it got the sign right.

Click here for the Almanac's January and February outlook, but as they say: caveat emptor...

By Jason Samenow  | January 5, 2011; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Capital Weather Gang, Humor, Long-range outlooks  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Washington D.C. weather in the year 2076
Next: Climate Lens: Politics, hype, and science


hahahahaha... this is great. looks like the almanac was right on the button for dec 20 through maybe dec 23? hahaha. people have a romantic attachment to almanac-type "mystical" predictions based on intuition etc...

btw, jason, freudian slip?:
"Want to SNOW why neither I, nor any meteorologist I know, assign any legitimacy...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 5, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Almanac long-range forecasts tend to be based on the idea that the time of day one of the major Moon phase changes occurs determines the weather over the next 5-7 days. Not sure if this is done with regard to "Zulu" or Universal time.

I'm not sure if these general forecast patterns have been statistically verified. If there's a scientific basis, it probably relates to tidal pull on the oceans and atmosphere; hence both the Sun's and Moon's gravitational pull would be involved.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 5, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The old Farmer's Almanac is a bunch of weather forecasting BS.
The CWG has done a nice job calling out their shenanigans.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 5, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I have ALWAYS wanted to do this but never have time to look...this is awesome Jason! Thanks!

Posted by: parksndc | January 5, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

It was mentioned that the Almanac long range forecast applied not just to DC, but for the Atlantic corridor (from Richmond to Boston, including Washington, D.C.)

Not mentioned explicitly, as I'm sure some noticed, was that the prediction was a complete and total bust on the Blizzard we missed but buried NJ and NYC, etc. !!!

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 5, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Steve. Excellent point which I failed to make. And thanks to Steve for giving me the idea to do this post!!!

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 5, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

well, you've got to give the almanac's authors credit for not just being wrong, but being spectacularly wrong.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 5, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

This is why I stopped reading the Farmer's Almanac years ago.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 5, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Wait...there's weather in the Old Farmer's Almanac? I thought it was a calendar with recipes.

Posted by: --sg | January 5, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Score 1 for sound science!

Posted by: SpeedLimit186000 | January 5, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Ah. Meant +1 there. :)

Posted by: SpeedLimit186000 | January 5, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company