How Did the Farmerís Almanac Stack Up This Winter?

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By James Boyle on April 4, 2012, 10:26pm

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The other day I came across a clipping of the Farmer’s Almanac’s yearly forecast, beginning with November 2011 and ending with October 2012. I thought I’d do a little comparison to see how well the almanac did in forecasting our winter season here in Connecticut.

This Almanac forecast was for the Atlantic corridor, which included Philadelphia, New York, Hartford and Boston. In summary, the article states; “winter will be drier than normal, with near-normal temperatures but above-normal snowfall.”

The article then breaks down each month.

December 2011 Prediction – Temperature: 1o above average. Precipitation: Average.

December 2011 Actual – The farmer’s almanac did correctly estimate above average temperatures, but not nearly to the degree we saw; Bridgeport and Hartford were 5.7 o and 5.9 o above average respectably. Precipitation did range; Bridgeport was only 0.37 inches above normal whereas Hartford was 1.56 inches above normal.

In terms of accuracy? Hit and miss, I’d give it a C-.

January 2012 Prediction – Temperature: 5 o above average. Precipitation: 1’’ below average.

January 2012 Actual – Bridgeport and Hartford were both well above average as predicted by the almanac; 5.6 o and 5.5 o. The almanac also estimated below normal precipitation values. However, not nearly an inch as predicted; only 0.12’’ in Bridgeport and 0.27’’ in Hartford.

On a side note, the almanac predicted a blizzard January 30-31. Hahaha. Maybe next year.

As for accuracy however, the almanac did fairly well surprisingly. I’d give it an A-

February 2012 Prediction – Temperature: 5 o below average. Precipitation: 1’’ above average.

February 2012 Actual – Swing and a miss for the almanac. Both Bridgeport and Hartford were well above average at 6.3 o and 6.0 o. Precipitation was off too; both Hartford and Bridgeport reported deficits of over an inch.

Grade wise? No questions asked, F.

March 2012 Prediction – Temperature: 4 o below average. Precipitation: 1.5’’ below average.

March 2012 Actual – In terms of temperatures, the almanac couldn’t have been any further off from the truth. Bridgeport was 7.8 o above normal and Hartford was an astonishing 9.3 o above normal! On the other hand, the precipitation forecast was a bit better. Both Bridgeport and Hartford had deficits, but it was even more than forecast; -2.1’’ in Hartford and -3.01’’ in Bridgeport.

I’d give the March forecast a D-.

What does the future hold for us this summer? The almanac predicted that “summer will be cooler and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in early and mid-July.” Based on how the almanac did this winter, I’d take that forecast with a brick-sized grain of salt.

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James Boyle

Town: North Branford, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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