The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2009 edition is also offering a prediction about when we’ll see snowflakes fly.
Snow showers could appear as early as Nov. 6-9 this year, but it will be Thanksgiving before real winter-like weather arrives in the lower Great Lakes region, according to the almanac.
“Snow at Thanksgiving will signal the coming of a very cold period,” the 217th edition of the weather and astrological forecasting publication reports for the Lower Lakes. The region includes parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
The forecast calls for the coldest periods to occur in December, early and mid-January and in early and mid-February. The snowiest periods will be in early and mid-December, early and mid-January, early February and early March.
In case you’re wondering, the almanac is predicting lake snows and very cold temperatures for the period of Dec. 21-25.
How accurate are these predictions?
While acknowledging that neither the Almanac nor any other forecasters can predict the weather with total accuracy, the publication boasts that their forecasts are overall about 80 percent accurate.
The Almanac bases its weather forecasts on a secret formula devised by the publication’s founder, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792 that takes into consideration the effects of sun spots on the earth’s climate. The publication also relies on historical climatology information and weather patterns over a period of years.
Last winter, the Almanac reported its monthly regional forecasts were 90 percent accurate in predicting more or less precipitation than the previous winter. Forecasted winter temperatures were -- on average -- within one degree of actual temperatures.
The Almanac acknowledged being off a bit in its temperature predictions for the nation as a whole last winter: three-tenths of a degree colder on average than forecast because the solar cycle lasted longer than expected.
Editor Janice Stillman said that not only do farmers rely on the publication’s prognostications, so do city managers who have to order winter rock salt and brides trying to pick a sunny and dry day for their wedding that is usually several months away.
“People expect it to be accurate,” she said.
While the almanac is known for its weather forecasts, many also turn to the publication for garden, home, food and feature stories.
The 2009 issue includes such features as:
• “How to Live to Be 100 or More.” Life expectancy may be at its highest point ever, but why leave your longevity to chance? Take some advice from centenarians.
• “Is Global Warming on the Wane?” Convincing evidence suggests that an extreme cooling period is imminent or already under way.
• “About Trout”: Going fishing? Hints for catching and cooking some beauties.
• “Foot Notes.” Got tender feet? Is your arch your enemy? Are you a pronator or a supinator? Here is where you can find your best footing and sample a few pedi-cures.
• “Directions from the Dark Side.” Your dreams are trying to tell you something. Learn how to capture, decode and benefit from the symbols, settings and situations that play in your mind at night.
• “Tomato Love.” Meet a man who annually harvests 4,000 pounds of heirloom tomatoes from his own one-acre garden and learn how to grow a ton-or just a few pounds-of your own.
The Old Father’s Almanac is available for $5.99 at newsstands and at bookstores or at Almanac.com.
While the Almanac is known for its garden, home, food and feature stories, everybody is interested in the weather.