Where we live: Too hot? Think about snow
We just passed the midway point of August. Just a week ago, consecutive days reached a heat index in the upper 90s. So why not think about snow?
Winter storms get everyone talking, no matter if you think they are the most overreacted to events of the year or you can’t wait to break out the snowblowers, snowmobiles and sleds.
The Farmers’ Almanac released projections this week, including a mild start to winter, followed by a “whopper” of a storm in February for the east.
More importantly than the actual forecast, in my opinion, is who, or what, came up with it. Anyone who knows what is going to happen that far in advance is someone Times News Grid Picks competitors want in their corner this fall.
As it turns out, that person is named Caleb Weatherbee and they’ve been in the weather prognostication business for more than two centuries. Weatherbee, in reality, is a pseudonym for the person entrusted with the secret Farmers’ Almanac formula.
According to media reports, only seven Caleb Weatherbees have existed in the history of the publication. The current Weatherbee has been at it for over 25 years with no end in sight.
The Farmers’ Almanac works hard to make sure Weatherbee’s identity is kept a secret.
“We don’t want to let everyone know what his real name is,” editors said in an interview with Mental Floss. “We don’t want anyone badgering Caleb. He’s got an important job so we have to make sure he can continue to do it. ”
I wonder if Marta Gouger, Times News editor, would allow me to use a pseudonym to avoid badgering.
Getting back to the forecasting formula, it was developed in 1818 and is basically a buffet of math and astronomy.
Before you go hunting down Weatherbee or start marking the down potential snow days for your children this winter, let’s take a look at their accuracy. Many believers claim the predictions are right 80% of the time, but forecasters peg it at closer to 30%. That sounds like most of my March Madness brackets.
In addition to the “winter whopper” around the final week of February, the almanac is also forecasting significant storms during the second week of January and second week of March.
As for the winter of 2022 as a whole, it should feature an “average” amount of snowfall and slightly below average temperatures, according to the almanac.
What does the National Weather Service have to say about all of this? Nothing yet. The NWS typically puts out its winter forecast between September and November.