How Accurate Is The Old Farmer's Almanac? | The Old Farmer's Almanac

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

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How We Did With Last Year's Winter Predictions

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How accurate is The Old Farmer’s Almanac in forecasting the weather? Here is the newest summary of how well we did last year with our long-range predictions, especially the winter forecasts!

Every year around Labor Day, The Old Farmer’s Almanac comes out with its famous long-range weather predictions for the year, covering 18 regions of the United States (and our Canadian edition covers 5 regions of southern Canada).

In the new 2023 edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, we publish a full analysis of last year’s long-range predictions (as well as our new weather forecasts for the 2022–2023 year). 

How Accurate Is The Old Farmer’s Almanac Forecast Overall?

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, our results are almost always close to our traditional claim of 80% accuracy.

How Accurate Was the 2021–2022 Winter Forecast?

Our overall accuracy rate in forecasting the direction of precipitation departure for a representative city in each region was 94.4%, as we were correct in 17 of the 18 regions.

  • In Region 14, the Desert Southwest, we forecasted near-normal precipitation and the winter ended up being below normal. Even though we’re tempted to take half credit, we’ll chalk this up as a miss, given the widespread below-normal precipitation throughout the region.
  • Looking at temperatures, our forecasted departures from normal were largely correct from the High Plains to the West Coast. We were also correct in New England, but other areas near the East Coast ended up warmer than we expected.

Overall, our accuracy rate in forecasting the direction of temperature departure for a representative city in each region was only about 50%. This makes our total accuracy rate 72.2%, slightly below our traditional average rate of 80%.

  • Our forecast for near- to below-normal snowfall across New England and portions of the Atlantic Corridor was correct in most areas, as was our forecast for near-normal snowfall across the Southeast.
  • Our above-normal snowfall forecast in parts of the Deep South, in places like Nashville and Little Rock, was also correct.
  • Our forecast of near-to-above-normal snowfall in the Lower Lakes was largely correct, while much of the Ohio Valley saw less snow than we expected.
  • Snowfall also underperformed our forecast across the High Plains, while our Intermountain West forecast of below-normal snowfall turned out to be largely correct.
  • Much of Alaska, especially in northern and eastern areas, saw above-normal snowfall, which matched our forecast.

See the full analysis in The 2023 Old Farmer’s Almanac.—which comes out around Labor Day—including a table which shows our forecasted average precipitation vs. the actual result for one city in each region.

How We Make Our Forecast

How do we make our long-range predictions? 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).

Of course, our exact formula is a secret. But rest assured, the meteorological technology and methods are continually updated. While principles 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. Read more about how we predict the weather.

What does the 2023 Almanac Say About This Winter?

How cold and snowy will this winter be? For specifics on snowfall and temperatures in your region, pick up The 2023 Old Farmer’s Almanac—and get your 2023 edition while copies are available!