Almanac predicts weather

Published 7:27 pm Monday, September 14, 2009

Most people have a favorite magazine or annual publication they look forward to coming in the mail (yes, mail).

I feel the same way about “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.”

It arrived a couple of weeks ago and finally I had the chance to sit down and peruse the publication.

The almanac is on the Web, too, at www.almanac.com.

The key to the almanac is its weather forecasts. The 218-year old publication bases its weather predictions on sunspots, meteorology and planetary positions.

On page 204, the almanac explains the weather prediction method is based on a way devised by Robert B. Thomas, who founded the magazine.

The present editors of the almanac say they’ve tweaked Thomas’ methods some, but they still predict weather patterns based on solar patterns and historical weather conditions with current solar activity.

Most of the old folks still depend on it, because it has been reliable for generations.

Now the Southern Edition (that’s ours) says our winter in the Deep South, Region 8, will be colder than normal on average in the northern portion of the region but a little warmer than average in the southern portion.

The almanac says the coldest periods are expected from mid-January to late-January and early- to mid-February.

April and May are expected to have warmer temperatures and below normal rainfall.

Summer will be a little warmer than normal in the northern portion of the region and cooler than normal in the southern portion.

Drought conditions are expected in portions of the region.

The almanac gives Florida a region alone. The publication predicts a major hurricane some time in August or September.

Scientists say sunspots aren’t a reliable way to predict weather patterns. Meteorologists contend long-range predictions are hard, even for them.

This year, meteorologists predict a warmer winter because of the El Nino effect.

We’ll have to see.

Meanwhile, I’ll hang with the old folks and keep up with each month in my almanac, but I’ll watch The Weather Channel, too.