Brian Ivey from Neoweather took a look at the 2020-21 Farmers Almanac versus the OLD Farmers Almanac predictions for this winter and how it differs from today’s weather models. Are the Almanacs accurate? How do they compare to each other and today’s real meteorologists? How do these predictions get determined? Let’s take a look!
The OLD Farmers Almanac predictions for 2020-21
The Old Farmers’ Almanac predicts a pretty mild winter with “more wet than white” weather in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions. The only real snowy weather is predicted to be in the Rockies and New England. Most of the Southeast is “not so cold, not too wet.” Even Alaska is predicted to be mild and wetter weather than usual.
The Old Farmers Almanac was founded in 1792 by Robert B. Thomas. Since then it has made predictions every year up to 18 months in advance for 18 regions in the United States and 7 regions in Canada.
What the [new] Farmers Almanac predicts for this winter instead
The new/regular Farmers Almanac is very different from the Old Farmers Almanac this year! In fact, several regions have the exact opposite weather prediction. For example, it says the Midwest will be “cold, above-normal snowfall” and the Southeast will be “chilly, showery” instead of “gorgeous!” It expects the cold air to be more extreme and to stretch further into the south.
The Farmers Almanac was first printed in 1818 by David Young. It varies from the Old Almanac by predicting weather 16 months in advance (versus 18 months) for seven climate zones in the U.S. and for five zones in Canada. That’s quite a few less than the Old Farmers Almanac (18 U.S. regions and 7 in Canada).
How are the Almanacs’ predictions made and are they accurate?
Both Farmers Almanacs have different forecasts because they use different factors when predicting the weather. After all, they are competitors in reality. But here are three things they both use (but use a bit differently):
- Sun Spots and Moon Phases
- Prevailing Climate Cycle and Weather Forklore
- Proprietary Formulas
The Old Farmers Almanac uses solar conditions and sunspot activity as a big variable. The long-range weather community has noticed in recent years solar activity doesn’t have a strong correlation with temperature trends. “I can tell you it’s not common meteorological practice to use space weather as an indicator, based on my years of experience and research,” said former president of the American Meteorological Society, Marshall Shepherd, in an interview with TIME.
The exact “folklore” used and formulas for Almanac predictions are really unknown, so we can’t say exactly how they come up with their forecasts, but we do know that their proven accuracy is well below the accuracy of modern meteorologists today at about 24-25% accuracy in reality. We realize that even meteorologist’s long-range forecasts aren’t the most accurate, but they are still well above 50% accuracy. So there is a BIG accuracy difference between a real meteorologist long-range forecast and almanacs.
Both Almanacs were only 24-25% accurate last year
Both Almanacs have cited that their accuracy can be betwen 80-95 percent. However, editors and publishers of the popular predictions have never provided evidence to back up these claims. Most meteorologists believe only on their best winter forecasts they get close to those numbers. The high accuracy claim may be because the Almanacs keep the forecasts extremely general over large regional areas. In other words, the predictions are vague enough to fit multiple situations and still claim to be accurate.
Neoweather Winter 2020-21 Long Range Forecast
The biggest pattern predictor Neoweather is looking at so far for this winter is the very warm water temperatures in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as in the Gulf. We are surrounded by above-average water temps. However, further south in the Pacific, there are well BELOW average water temperatures showing that a La Niña will be a factor this winter. What will that mean? Usually, it means wetter and colder weather than average up North and warmer and drier weather in the South. Neoweather is forecasting that the coldest temps will be confined to the Northern Plains overall. They anticipate the warmer temps in the South will push up and keep the temps from falling below average in the Midwest and through the center of the country much. The South and much of the East is expected to have a mild winter.
If you are looking for more long and short-range forecasts for your snow removal service area, contact Neoweather today! They can save you money by deploying your crews at the right time with the right equipment and materials!