Yes, Those Winter “Almanac Forecasts” Are Still Terrible

9am Wednesday…

It’s that time of year! Early October is here and everyone wants to know what Winter 2019-2020 will be like.  I haven’t put much thought into it yet since we just moved into fall, but a lot of you have probably seen these forecasts from the two different “Almanacs”.

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These come out in September each year.  Obviously their summary graphic doesn’t tell you much, but each almanac has some detailed forecasts for the upcoming winter.

But how accurate are they?  What follows is a large part of a 2013 blog post with a few updated graphics…enjoy!

Jan Null at Golden Gate Weather Services here has checked the almanac’s accuracy several times over the past 15 years, rarely does it do well.

Brian Macmillan and I put together a presentation based on 4 winters of Old Farmer’s Almanac forecasts.  By the way, the Old Farmer’s Almanac looks like this:


It has been in competition with another one for hundreds of years!  That of course would be the Farmers’ Almanac.


They both claim to have a “secret formula” for forecasting weather

Farmers Almanac Forecast Is Crap 1


Back in 2013 we looked at the past 4 winters, but didn’t analyze any sort of “snow/cold” forecasts. Just how the temp and precip forecasts compared to reality.


Here are the results…got it all?


The precipitation forecast was particularly abysmal that winter of 2012-2013.  They expected a dry start and a wetter end.  Instead the opposite occurred!   OFA (Old Farmer’s Almanac) was correct on precipitation anomaly (month-wise) only 50% of the time during the 16 months we analyzed.  As you can see the temperature forecasts below were even worse…OFA is wrong far more often than right.


The conclusion?


It’s terrible.  But the publications do have some stories that I enjoy reading.  Even a recipe for coconut cream pie this year!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

16 Responses to Yes, Those Winter “Almanac Forecasts” Are Still Terrible

  1. JERAT416 says:

    Looks like a great 7 day forecast. Not a lot of rain, pleasant to enjoy some fall colors and maybe rake up some leaves Haha! Happy Saturday everyone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I want a year that helps refresh our glaciers! What does the mystic oracle say?

  3. Ann Merklin says:

    Mark, that Coconut Cteam Pie sounds delicious! What page? Send snow

  4. MasterNate says:


    Everyone, a must read on Cliffs blog this morning. He needs help!

    Sorry, had to re-post as Mark updated his blog.

    • MasterNate says:

      Which is great BTW mark.

    • ocpaul says:

      Wow! A frightening story.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      It’s a contemporary version of fascism.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      I support you Cliff. Sorry to see you getting sidelined by people who just want to cry about everything and try to control everything. Nothing but for you respect.

      • Kyle says:

        If you think people are crying now for control. You should’ve been around during Cash for Clunkers era. It was total thought control unlike now where people are waking up. 80 percent of the US has HAD IT! Up to here. I can’t stretch my hands enough to do it but I can guarantee people have had it to the moon with the 8 years of thought control. The Trump rallies are jammed packed with people being turned away.

      • Kyle says:

        For some reason my posts about the (O) car gets censored if I say that President’s name it makes my comments flagged. Mark is very liberal and it shows in his way of censoring comments. He can cry it’s Word Press’s fault but I have posted on other Word Press blog with his name and no problem.

        I have seen a few of the (O) cars drive around and they are ugly little cars and I feel for anyone deluded enough to drive in one.

        People say the seats are like bricks and their isn’t any room between you and the passenger. And this is the ‘deluxe’ version. Standard versions don’t have ANY passenger seat at all and very little room in the boot.

        I don’t know if the seats are still uncomfortable in the new ones but that was when they were at their peak.

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