How Accurate Was The Old Farmer's Almanac's Weather Forecast?

Looking Back on Last Year's Forecast

October 3, 2018
Weather Seasons
Vaclav Volrab/Shutterstock

How accurate was The Old Farmer’s Almanac weather forecast this past year? Here’s a recap of the 2017–2018 forecast—and also a peek at 2018–2019 predictions.

Every year since George Washington was president, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted the weather. And every year in recent times, we publish an analysis of our forecast from the previous year.

How Accurate Was Our Weather Forecast?

Our overall accuracy rate in forecasting the direction of temperature change from normal for 2017–2018 winter was 83%.

  • Temperatures in the Deep South, Desert Southwest, and Pacific Southwest were warmer than we forecast.
  • Most other regions had a February warm enough to offset cold temperatures in other winter months, making our overall forecast of above-normal temperatures correct.

Our forecast for the change in precipitation from last winter was correct in 72% of the regions, giving us an overall accuracy rate of 77%—very close to our traditional 80% rate.

Traditionally, The Old Farmer’s Almanac still has about an 80% accuracy track record. These numbers are determined by looking at monthly averages—since these are long-range monthly predictions—as opposed to judging each day’s forecast.

See our full recap with more details in The 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

How We Make Our Forecast

We derive our weather forecasts from a secret formula that was devised by the founder of this Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792. Thomas believed that weather on Earth was influenced by sunspots, which are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun.

Some people don’t believe that the minute amount of energy the sun bears could have any influence on the atmosphere and therefore the climate and the weather, but we are among those that do.

In addition to solar science (the study of sunspots), we rely on climatology (the study of weather patterns) and meteorology (the study of the atmosphere).

Our exact formula is a secret. But rest assured, the meteorological technology and methods are continually updated. While principals upon which the forecasts are made are essentially the same, we use the latest state-of-the-art satellite data, all the latest technology and equipment.

See more about how we predict the weather.

Get Weather Predictions for 2019

What’s shaping the weather in 2019? Solar Cycle 24, the smallest in more than 100 years, is well into its declining phase after reaching double peaks in late 2011 and early 2014. Despite the fact that solar activity continues to decline from these low peaks toward the minima in 2019, we expect temperatures during the winter of 2018–2019 to be milder than normal in most of the nation, with only the Southwest being colder than normal.

How mild? How cold? For more specifics on snowfall and temperatures, you’ll need to pick up The 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac—now available!

And for our very best value package—including our most popular Almanac products—join The Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership!


The 2019 Old Farmer's Almanac


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment


it helpful information fpr weather 2018 to 2019 coming year will be winter snowfal it totaly change a weather

Long-Range View

The view from the summit of Mount Washington, or Katahdin, can be breathtaking; but if you're forecasting at ground level, I'm guessing you meant "a PEEK at 2018–2019 predictions".

Appreciate that you evaluate and report your own performance, by the way!


The Editors's picture

Thanks for giving us the peek and catching our oops, Barry. We appreciate that you evaluate our performance, too! ;-)