A reliable guide to the weather?

Article by Valerie MacDonald

It will be a “snow lovers” winter predicts the Farmers’ Almanac editor Peter Geiger. A more traditional winter is anticipated than in the past, he says.

Peter Geiger & Sandi Duncan

Speaking to the News Now Network from Maine, Geiger gave some examples of what we can expect in Ontario this winter through to spring using the secret formula that has been in place and used for weather forecasting since the booklet was first published in 1818. The managing editor is Sandi Duncan.

This month, for the first time this, the Canadian publication is only available online while the US version will continue to be printed, he said.

The almanac is used by urban readers for all kinds of life and planting information, plus stories. And farmers also use it also, Geiger contends.

“I do think farmers rely on it,” he said.

They use it for long-term planning, one of the tools they use to prepare long range, he continued.

“It’s a piece of information helpful to farmers….and we’re probably the best source for long-term predictions.”

Several Northumberland County farmers, however, said they never consult it.

Allan Carruthers/MacDonaldphoto

Long-time crop farmer and Northumberland Federation of Agriculture president and chair of the Northumberland County Agricultural Advisory Group, Allan Carruthers, is among those who said he doesn’t use the Farmers’ Almanac.

“I think I probably glanced at it last five years ago,” he told the News Now Network.

Carruthers called it a “guide” when it was first created many years ago and describes it as a “volume of weather averages.” The Farmers’ Almanac is a good book to read for jokes and stories but he said he consults Environment Canada “10 times a day” for farm and event planning.

While the Farmers’ Almanac provides two years of weather predictions, not so with Environment Canada which does so for only up to three months into the future. The Almanac uses as formula that includes input from data on sunspots, positions of planets and movement of the moon, Geiger said, claiming 75 to 85% accuracy depending on the area and time of the year. Just seven people have done the weather predictions since the publication’s inception, he added.

Environment Canada, meantime, says its long-term focus is only three months ahead and right now that is for August, September and October with “a low reliability beyond that,” meteorologist Geoff Coulson told the News Now Network. It’s winter forecast map won’t be released until early December, he said.

The international scientific meteorological services, like Environment Canada, tend to focus on specifics with their “10 to 14 days into the future” because that is the state of the technology today, summed up Coulson.

Unlike Environment Canada, the Farmers’ Almanac editor provided some specifics upcoming for Ontario for this winter and spring: from November 12 to 15 expect rain and snow; it will be a bit colder than normal in early December and again over the Christmas period; sleet and snow are predicted during the second week of January, 2024 and there will be a white Easter Sunday next year.

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