This winter in the United States will be colder than normal. That's what the classic American publication the Old Farmers's Almanac is predicting.
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"We expect heavier than normal snow in the Intermountain region, which is in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains, and just colder than normal temperatures throughout most of the U.S.," said Janice Stillman, the Almanac's editor. She claims the forecasts made by the Old Farmer's Almanac are 80 percent accurate.
To make those predictions, the Almanac has traditionally used a secret formula based on sunspot activity developed in 1792 by its founder, Robert B. Thomas. Today, it also employs what it calls state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations.
"But you have to remember that we predict temperature and precipitation as deviations from the norm," said Stillman. "We're not going to tell you what the temperatures going to be, nor how much rain or snow is going to fall."
Some scientists claim the vagueness of the Almanac's predictions makes it difficult to determine their accuracy. So does the fact that the Almanac's predictions are prepared as much as 18 months in advance.
In a concession such challenges, the Almanac stated in its bicentennial edition, "Neither we nor anyone else has as yet gained sufficient insight into the mysteries of the universe to predict weather with anything resembling total accuracy."
The Old Farmer's Almanac is the oldest, continuously published periodical in North America. Besides weather, it contains information as diverse as recipes, planting charts, astronomy and predictions. An on-line version of the Almanac was launched in 1996.