ice storm round 2 farmers almanac
continued

Saint Louis, MO

#21 Feb 11, 2009
1) These Almanacs don’t publish how they arrive at their forecasts. Both will claim to be accurate, and at least the Old Farmer’s Almanac actually has a meteorologist on staff. But, think of this: With all the high-tech gadgetry we have today, with about a dozen high-power, sophisticated computer models running endless mathematical computations to arrive at our weather forecasts, we still have a low accuracy rate after about day four. This is due to computer errors and inherent variability of weather! So, if our accuracy beyond day four is in question, how then can an entertainment magazine, published in advance, and predicting weather for the entire country for a year, be any more accurate? In my mind it falls in with wives’ tales such as the persimmon seeds and the wooly worm. Some people swear by those things when predicting the weather, and I’ve seen them get it right here and there. But, to rely on those things to tell of weather a few months in advance is silly.
2) The forecasts the Almanac puts out are broken down in to very general terms for large sections of the country. For instance, In The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Missouri is in a section along with most of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and western Illinois. In The Farmer’s Almanac, the region is HUGE, with Missouri grouped together with Montana, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and everything in between! So when a forecast says that for February 5-10 there will be “snow north and cold, rain south,” how in the heck can that be reliable? And really, during February, it is very likely that such a storm will occur at some point over a five day period in a nine-state area. Cold with snow in February? No! It’s like saying Florida will have scattered thunderstorms in June! Duh!
3) Rather than believing the Almanac is trustworthy based on one “correct” forecast, compare it to actual conditions over a period of a few months and see how accurate it is.
4) Long range forecast is done using a combination of current global jet stream patterns, ocean temperatures and their fluctuations (which affect the jet streams), and computer models. We can have an idea of trends several weeks away, such as colder, warmer, wetter, or drier based on the expected jet stream movements. This is how we come up with the seasonal outlooks such as “warmer and drier this winter.” However, we cannot, with any real degree of accuracy, predict specific storms or their intensity much more than a few days away.
In short, if you’ve heard the buzz about the big super storm the Almanac (whichever one it is) says is coming in February, don’t start stockpiling supplies just yet. I’m not saying it absolutely WON’T happen, but just that it cannot be predicted right now with any accuracy. Since I don’t know everything that goes into the Almanacs’ forecasts, I have to believe that when one of them gets it right, it can be categorized in the same vein as the favorite saying:“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.” J
The current pattern in the jet stream is one that brings cold air into much of the U.S. There is expected to be some weakening of this pattern by the middle of next week (February 7th-9th) with moderating temperatures. However, the weak El Nino that was present earlier in the winter has been weakening over the last few weeks. This has already resulted in a weakened southern jet stream and more polar jet influence—hence colder and drier, overall. I suspect this will be the trend for the remainder of the winter, with the potential for couple big-ticket winter storm events when the northern and southern jet streams interact.
Brandon Beck
KY3 Stormteam Meteorologist
[email protected]
first part

Saint Louis, MO

#22 Feb 11, 2009
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve received several calls and emails—people have even stopped us in the store or at church—about the Farmer’s Almanac. The National Weather Service has been taking emails and calls as well. The universal claim from our viewers in all of these contacts is that the Farmer’s Almanac:

1) Predicted the Great Ice Storm of 2007, within a day

2) Says another, worse storm—a “super storm”—is headed our way in mid-February

With all the fuss and the spreading rumor, I thought it would be good to address the topic.

First of all, there are two versions of the Farmer’s Almanac, published by two separate companies. The “Old Farmer’s Almanac” is the one with the yellow cover, and then “The Farmer’s Almanac” is the orange cover. The forecasts are at least somewhat different, though both claim to be accurate. In the case of the big ice storm, NEITHER book accurately forecasted the storm. And, neither book is mentioning a “super storm” in February, either. Here is what they say:

Mid-January forecast, coinciding with our ice storm 12th-17th. Snowstorm, then sunny, very cold. 12th-15th. Mostly fair, but bitterly cold
February Forecast 1st-7th. Rain and snow, then sunny, mild. 8th-12th. Seasonable; snow north, rain south. 13th-19th. Snow, cold north; rain south. 20th-24th. Sunny, record cold. 25th-28th. Cold, snow showers 1st-3rd. Fair weather prevails. 4th-7th. Powerful storm pushes heavy snow across Colorado, parts of Nebraska, Iowa, much of Kansas, Missouri, accumulations of a foot possible. 8th-11th. Drier, but also much colder. 12th-15th. Flurries Northern and Central Plains, points east. Frigidly cold temperatures approach 30 below in parts of Montana, North Dakota. 16th-19th. Fair at first, then stormy conditions. 20th-23rd. Mostly fair weather. 24th-28th. Milder, then some snow for Northern and Central Rockies and Plains, then fair and colder.

Yes, The Old Farmer’s Almanac got the timing right on the big ice storm, but it called for snow, not crippling ice! Snow would have been a much better affliction, though with as much moisture as we had, it would have been around two feet of it!

Admittedly, there are some people who put some stock in the Almanac’s forecasts, which is probably why we’re getting such a response. However, I’ve never seen any evidence that either of the Almanacs is routinely accurate. Here are some thoughts to consider:
Guest

United States

#23 Feb 11, 2009
Humm that was interesting, thanks

Abdal Azziz

“Not My Real Name”

Since: Jan 09

Anaheim, CA

#24 Feb 11, 2009
Brandon,
Wow, that's a good summary...
mma

United States

#25 Feb 11, 2009
BUT they have been in buisness for over 100 years, so the have to be doing something right

Abdal Azziz

“Not My Real Name”

Since: Jan 09

Anaheim, CA

#26 Feb 11, 2009
I haven't picked one up in a number of years, but they do have the lunar cycles and tides and other useful information, right?
DBC

Saint Louis, MO

#27 Feb 12, 2009
I work in a truck stop frequented by the eletric & tree crews and all of them have said this was the worst ice storm they had ever seen anywhere
well

Saint Louis, MO

#28 Feb 12, 2009
TEF wrote:
Just because it was a terrible storm, doesn't mean this has been the worst winter ever.
DUDE< shut up you are fu--ing stupid
Jack Boot

Saint Louis, MO

#29 Feb 12, 2009
mma wrote:
BUT they have been in buisness for over 100 years, so the have to be doing something right
Selling their lame books to dummies is what they have done right!

TEF

“Non credo quia absurdum est”

Since: Feb 09

Location hidden

#30 Feb 12, 2009
well wrote:
<quoted text>
DUDE< shut up you are fu--ing stupid
Wow, what an intelligent response.
stang

United States

#31 Feb 12, 2009
Jack Boot wrote:
<quoted text>
Selling their lame books to dummies is what they have done right!
wow I bet you thought about that all day...hey everyone lets give the retard a hand
Boz

Jackson, MO

#32 Feb 12, 2009
Lets pray that we get no more ice.
Kyle

Radcliff, KY

#33 Feb 13, 2009
The ice storm was the worst winter storm I have ever seen in my life. I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where the average snowfall for the town I lived in was well over 100" a year. I've seen 48" of snow dumped on my town by one storm. However, the ice and snow that came with the ice storm in January had a much more profound effect than anything I've ever seen before. I can't say that I truly believe that the Farmer's Almanac forecasted the storm legitimately. It seems to be more likely a coincidence. For the good of everyone in the already crippled areas, I hope the rest of our winter season is tranquil and uneventful. I cannot deal with another extended power outage or more structure damage to my house.
resident

Saint Louis, MO

#34 Feb 13, 2009
i don't read the almanac myself but heard it was only a few days off. and there will be a second winter storm soon. if so i hope its not as bad as the first.
Guest

Sikeston, MO

#35 Feb 13, 2009
Bull! Sometimes they can't tell us what the weather's going to be in a couple days. How can they tell us months ahead? If you make enough broad statements some are bound to come true, then they say "We told you so."
Just my opinion.

Since: Nov 08

Location hidden

#36 Feb 13, 2009
JUST MAY BE THAT IT IS RIGHT! There is a storm brewing here for certain.
OFA

United States

#37 Feb 13, 2009
Long-range Weather Forecast
Deep South
Annual Weather Summary
November 2008 to October 2009

Detailed 2009 Long-Range Forecast
for the Deep South Region


Includes predictions for all or portions of Alabama (Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa), Arkansas (Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Little Rock, North Little Rock), Florida (Bellview, Brent, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola), Georgia (Acworth, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Rome), Kentucky (Middlesboro, Strunk), Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Metairie, New Orleans, Shreveport), Mississippi (Biloxi, Greenville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson), Missouri (Caruthersville, Hayti, Kennett, Portageville, Steele), Oklahoma (Arkoma), Tennessee (Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville), Texas (Latex, Panola), Virginia (Bristol).

Winter will be much colder than normal, with temperatures one to two degrees below normal, on average. The coldest periods will occur in mid-December, early and late January, and mid-February. Precipitation will be below normal in the north but well above normal in the south. Snowfall will be above normal in the north, with the snowiest periods in late December and early January. Elsewhere, snowfall will be below normal.

April and May temperatures will be well above normal, on average, with above-normal rainfall.

Summer temperatures will be two degrees above normal, on average, in the north and slightly below normal in the south. The hottest periods will be in early and mid-June, mid- and late July, and late August. Rainfall will be below normal.

September and October will be cooler than normal, with near-normal rainfall. Expect a hurricane in late September.

Detailed Forecast for the Next Two Months
February 2009
Avg. Temperature: 42.5°(3.5° below avg.)
Precipitation: 6" (1" above avg.)
Feb. 1-6: Sunny, then rain, cool
Feb. 7-11: Showers, seasonable
Feb. 12-16: Rain, then sunny, cold
Feb. 17-22: Occasional rain, chilly
Feb. 23-26: Rain, turning warmer
Feb. 27-28: Sunny, cool
March 2009
Avg. Temperature: 56.5°(0.5° above avg.)
Precipitation: 6.5" (0.5" above avg.)
Mar. 1-5: Rain, then sunny, cool
Mar. 6-11: T-storms, then sunny, cool
Mar. 12-16: Rain, then sunny, cool
Mar. 17-18: T-storms
Mar. 19-23: Sunny, cold
Mar. 24-31: Scattered t-storms, warm
tlks2much

Arlington, TN

#38 Feb 13, 2009
Two Slushers wrote:
There are two Slusher's just so you know. Slusher's Downtown has a completely different owner and runs a top notch business.
Slusher's downtown is a crook! Why do you think he is not working for his own family???

Abdal Azziz

“Not My Real Name”

Since: Jan 09

Anaheim, CA

#39 Feb 13, 2009
OFA wrote:
Long-range Weather Forecast
Deep South
Annual Weather Summary
November 2008 to October 2009
Detailed 2009 Long-Range Forecast
for the Deep South Region
Includes predictions for all or portions of Alabama (Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa), Arkansas (Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Little Rock, North Little Rock), Florida (Bellview, Brent, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola), Georgia (Acworth, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Rome), Kentucky (Middlesboro, Strunk), Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Metairie, New Orleans, Shreveport), Mississippi (Biloxi, Greenville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson), Missouri (Caruthersville, Hayti, Kennett, Portageville, Steele), Oklahoma (Arkoma), Tennessee (Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville), Texas (Latex, Panola), Virginia (Bristol).
With the really really broad areas, the almanac can be arguably "accurate," if you really want to believe it, but it's nowhere near being precise.
Laura In KY

Rockfield, KY

#40 Feb 22, 2009
I must be missing something, I live in KY. In the past couple years we have more tornadoes here than we've had in 20 years, in the fall we had Hurricane Ike, 80 mile hour winds. which I had damage to my home. In January we had a ice storm, I was with out power for 16 days. And on the 16th day we had 73 mile and hour winds. Someone tell me what the hell is going on in KY!!!!!

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