How snowy will it be in the Baltimore region this winter? Depends on who you ask.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which has been prognosticating the weather for 226 years, the Atlantic corridor — the region that stretches from Boston to Richmond, Va. — will experience warmer temperatures this winter and below-normal snowfall. Snowfall is predicted in early December, late January, and mid-February.
Next summer, meanwhile, will be “rainier and cooler than normal,” it says.
But the Farmers’ Almanac, a separate publication that has existed since 1818, is predicting this winter will be colder than normal. The almanac anticipates the Mid-Atlantic will see an unusually snowy or wet winter, with temperatures hovering around freezing and the potential for freezing rain.
The Farmers’ Almanac expects frigid conditions to set in in February and persist through the official start of spring in March, especially on the East Coast. “In particular, we are red-flagging March 20-23 for a potent East Coast storm that could deliver a wide variety of wintry precipitation just as we are making the transition from winter to spring,” the almanac’s website reads.
So, how did the two almanacs reach these differing conclusions?
The Old Farmers’ Almanac was was founded in 1792 by Robert B. Thomas, who believed weather was influenced by sunspots. But over the years, is has “refined and enhanced this formula with state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations,” the almanac says. Meanwhile, the Farmers’ Almanac says it bases its predictions on “a mathematical and astronomical formula developed in 1818.”
Meanwhile, the meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center say the mid-Atlantic region will see “enhanced odds of above normal precipitation” this fall. Temperatures are expected to be above normal for much of the country, the center said.
While meteorologists have had differing predictions, the Old Farmer’s Almanac said it predicted last year’s temperatures with 83 percent accuracy, above its historical average of 80 percent. Its precipitation predictions were only accurate in 72 percent of regions.
“We believe that nothing in the universe happens haphazardly, that there is a cause-and-effect pattern to all phenomena. However, although neither we nor any other forecasters have as yet gained sufficient insight into the mysteries of the universe to predict the weather with total accuracy,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac says.
In addition to the long-term forecast, the Old Farmer’s Almanac also lists the best days for canning, pickling or making sauerkraut (though it clearly didn’t consult Baltimoreans, as Thanksgiving isn’t on the list). The “Best Days for 2019” chart is “based on the Moon’s sign and shows the best days each month for certain activities.” It also notes the best days each month to perm hair, have dental care, harvest ground crops and castrate animals.
Similarly, the Farmers’ Almanac lists “best days” based on the moon’s phase and position in the zodiac. The almanac suggests best days for activities such as jarring jams and jellies, painting, buying a car, drying fruits and vegetables and digging post holes.
“The period between the new and full moon (first and second quarters) is considered as the best time to perform tasks that require strength, fertility and growth. The period between the full and new moon (third and fourth quarters) is best for harvesting, slowing growth, etc.,” according to the Farmers’ Almanac. “Consideration is also given to the relationship the moon has with the 12 ruling signs of the zodiac.”