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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Just how accurate is The Old Farmer’s Almanac in forecasting the weather? Here is our report regarding the Almanac’s accuracy in forecasting last year’s winter. It was a season of abnormal weather patterns!

The 2024 Old Farmer’s Almanac (available everyone on August 29, 2023!) features the below information along with temperature and precipitation forecasts versus actuals for representative cities in each region. 

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

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, we correctly predict the weather about 80% of the time. Last year’s total accuracy rate is slightly below are traditional average at 70%.

Keep in mind that the way we measure long-range seasonal predictions is different than your daily weather meteorologist. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts weather trends and events by comparing solar patterns and historical weather conditions with current solar activity. Our extended winter weather forecasts emphasize temperature and precipitation deviations from averages, or normals. These are based on 30-year statistical averages prepared by government meteorological agencies.

How Accurate Was the 2022–2023 Winter Forecast?

Our accuracy in forecasting the direction of precipitation departure from normal for a representative city in each region was 100%. Our forecast for a very wet winter in California was very accurate. 

Overall, our accuracy rate in forecasting the direction of temperature departure for a representative city in each region was 39%, a reflection of how abnormal recent weather patterns have been. 

  • A colder winter was accurately predicted for the Rockies through the northern Plains and upper Midwest. 
  • The heart of the cold was in the West, and while there were some brief bursts of predicted extreme cold from the Great Lakes to the Northeast, winter was very warm throughout that area. 

This makes last winter’s total accuracy rate 70%, slightly below our traditional average rate of 80%.

2024 Old Farmers Almanac yellow book

Last winter was a season of snowfall extremes. 

  • Our forecast for a snowy winter was correct from eastern Washington through the northern Rockies and northern Plains, where Bismarck, North Dakota, ended up having one of its snowiest winters on record. 
  • Another big forecasting victory occurred across the high terrain in the West, from northern Arizona into California’s Sierra Nevada, where snowfall ended up being well above normal and Mammoth Mountain had its snowiest season on record. 
  • From the southern Plains through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and into the mid-Atlantic, snowfall underperformed our above-normal forecast. 
  • While it was a largely snowless winter from Washington, D.C., to Boston, snowfall did end up near or above normal across portions of northern New England. In Alaska, which did end up mostly snowier, our forecast for a drier-than-normal winter was correct in eastern areas around Juneau.  

On average, our actual winter precipitation results for top cities differed from our forecasts by 0.28 inch.

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 individuals doubt that the amount of energy emitted by the sun has any impact on the atmosphere, weather, and climate. However, we belong to the group that believes otherwise. We base our beliefs on the fields of solar science, which studies sunspots, climatology, which examines weather patterns, and meteorology, which focuses on the atmosphere.

Of course, our exact formula is proprietary. But also rest assured that the meteorological technology and methods are continually updated. While the forecasts are based on the same principles, we use the latest state-of-the-art satellite data, all the latest technology and equipment. Read more about how The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts the weather.

What Does the 2024 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 2024 Old Farmer’s Almanac—while copies are available!