On any given day, the weather forecast can seem like a total crap shoot, at best. And the 10-day forecast? Please. Anything after 48 hours is almost a complete guess. Still, that hasn't stopped the Farmer's Almanac from predicting entire seasons' worth of weather well in advance.
At this point, the almanac has been a staple of American culture since nearly the dawn of America itself, as it was first published in 1792. In this post, we are going to look at the weather prediction for the winter of 2019-2020, as well as some of the background that goes into those predictions.
This Year's Prediction
For the Great Lakes region, the almanac is forecasting a winter that is considerably colder than normal. It is projected to linger well into April, pushing the start of spring back by quite a bit. The worst of it is forecasted to hit between January 4-7 and 12-15 when "copious amounts" of snow are supposed to blanket the area.
How Do They Predict?
Long range forecasting, as one can imagine, must be particularly difficult. Just how the almanac devises its predictions is notoriously a secret and speculative endeavor. The Farmer's Almanac standard answer to the inquiry is an, "exclusive mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors."
What Do Meteorologists Think?
As one could imagine, seasoned meteorologists don't put much stock into these forecasts, which is <i>really</i> saying something when you think about it. In a 2015 CNN article about the almanac, Senior Meteorologist, Dan Hennen, said, "It's difficult enough to do a five-day forecast…."
He elaborated by saying, "We're really good at the day of and the next day, (and) we're better at temperature a ways out than precipitation. But to forecast out that far in advance ... even the science behind our long-range forecasting is sometimes not that solid."
Snow in the Summer of 1816
One intriguing story about the almanac's accuracy goes back to the 1816 edition.
Legend has it, that a wily printer, while founder Robert B. Thomas was laid up with the flu, inserted a prediction for rain, hail, and snow throughout New England… in July! When Thomas discovered the prank, he rounded up all the copies, had them destroyed and new ones printed sans the outlandish prediction.
Strangely enough, however, is that the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in the East Indies spread volcanic ash and dust into the atmosphere the world over, affecting weather patterns in many places. One of the effected areas was the New England and Canada's eastern seaboard. And yes, in July and August of 1816, it actually did snow!
In Michigan, mid-autumn and mid-spring are notoriously unpredictable. We could see anything from an 80-degree day to eight inches of snow. Relying on forecasts doesn't always help much either. As such, it's always best to be prepared for winter weather situations as early or late as they could occur, regardless of the forecast.
Of course, if you are looking for commercial snow removal services, we'd sure appreciate it if you would give E.P.M. LawnScape and Supply an opportunity. Simply contact us online or call us at (517) 990-0110 today!