When The Old Farmer's Almanac staffers forecast a February blizzard for the mid-Atlantic Coast - and then discovered they'd gotten it almost right - no one at the office in New Hampshire was all that surprised.
Gratified, yes. Surprised, no.
The almanac's team of meteorologists boasts an 80-percent accuracy rate. That's even more impressive considering they make predictions more than a year in advance.
For Region Three, our region, they forecast a blizzard during Feb. 8-13. With 28.2 inches of snow, who's going to nit-pick a day or two?
The credit goes to the three disciplines their forecasters use, says editor Janice Stillman: solar science, the study of sun spots and their effect on the atmosphere; climatology, the history of weather patterns; and meteorology, what we hear about so often on the nightly news.
An important element, Stillman says, is the way the almanac's staff factors in weather cycles, believing those cycles are repeated. It's a school of thought they trace to Galileo, and it's been endorsed by their meteorologists since the publication's founding in 1792.
March doesn't look much better for Region Three, if you trust the almanac. It has snow in our forecast for March 1-6, March 7-10 and March 13-15.
Aug. 1-5 looks good, though. Sunny, the forecast says, and warm.