Thursday, March 28, 2013

How Accurate Is The Old Farmer's Almanac?

We're almost three months into the new year and I'm sure some of you might be looking over your "2013 Old Farmer's Almanac" and wondering if the temperature and precipitation forecasts are accurate.

The "Almanac", which has been published since 1792, claims an accuracy rate of 80%.  But, is it really.  As I was spring cleaning at home, I came across the 2011 edition.  I looked through it to see if there was anything I wanted to save before recycling it and I decided to check the forecast and see how correct it was for eastern Iowa and northern Illinois.



When I started checking the "Almanac" forecast to the actual weather for that year, I was very lenient in grading.  I didn't even check the detailed forecast for actual dates for those months because there's no way to forecast that far in advance!  I just checked the monthly temperature and precipitation forecast.

For temperatures, the "Almanac" was 42% accurate.  For instance, it predicted December 2010 temperatures to be three degrees above and the month ended up 5.3° below average in the Quad Cities.  Many other months were off the mark.  However, in September 2011, it predicted that temperatures would be four degrees below average and that's how it turned out!

As for precipitation, the forecast trends were more accurate.  The "Almanac" was 75% accurate!

I always find it interesting to read the "Old Farmer's Almanac" and the "Farmers Almanac" (published since 1818), but if you really want to trust the forecast, you have to watch the CBS4 weather team!

Have a great day!

Meteorologist Anthony Peoples

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