For almost a week there has been a persistent rumor that another snowstorm is on the way. I traced this back to radio spreading the rumor that Farmers’ Almanac had predicted the past two snowstorms and was predicting a third. I was frequently asked if there was another snowstorm on the way, for which I answered no. The response was almost always “Well, Farmers’ Almanac is predicting another snowstorm and it predicted the last two.” What?
So I investigated this claim. First let me point out that there is a Farmers’ Almanac (dating back to 1818) and an Old Farmer’s Almanac (dating back to 1792). It was Old Farmer’s Almanac that was predicting snow. Second the forecasts are so vague as to be of little value. Neither ever forecasted sleet or freezing rain and thus the ice that was so devastating.
Yet there were a few that were adamant that Old Farmer’s Almanac got it right. If that is the case, then why ever watch the media. Let’s explore the claim.
I do not have the forecast breakdown for January, but I did get it for February. For the period of February 7-14, the forecast is for “periods rain and snow, then sunny, cold”. It was during this period that the snowstorm occurred (11-13). But, wait! The forecast is for the entire region from south Georgia to southeast Virginia. It also includes the Piedmont as well as coastal areas.
Does this forecast apply equally to all locations? Are we to apply this with rain in the south and snow in the north? If so, where is the rain/snow line? Where is there any mention of ice? Where does it even say snowstorm? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines snowstorm as a disturbance of the atmosphere marked by a heavy amount of precipitation in the form of small white ice crystals. In their forecast how much snow will fall?