During winters with extraordinary amounts of snow, I am often bombarded with rumors of some “massive storm” or other supposedly predicted for March or April. As we know, the Mid Atlantic and Southern states have seen record snowfall this year. So it’s not surprising that, about three weeks ago, I began receiving notes from readers asking about a storm that will allegedly dump 40 inches in early March. More troubling even than this strange prediction was the fact that people were giving the credit — or, more accurately, the blame — to the Farmers’ Almanac.
This left me scratching my head. Our forecast doesn’t include anything even close to a catastrophic 40″ snowstorm in early March.
Finally, after weeks of wondering, I figured out the source of this strange rumor. Many readers don’t realize that the Farmers’ Almanac is only one of countless almanacs that have been published throughout history. Even though ours is one of the most well known almanacs to survive into the 21st Century, a handful of others do still exist. One of these is a very small, relatively unknown, almanac published in Eastern Pennsylvania. The editor of that almanac was recently interviewed by news media in his area and, during the course of that interview, said that there would be a 40″ snowstorm on March 7th. After that, the media took to the story like flies to honey. Never mind the fact that his own almanac never even called for the storm, or that, in another interview, he said he regretted the statement. Once out, stories like this take on a life of their own, and panic sets in.
Looks like March 7 will be a balmy 50-degree day in the Philadelphia area, with no precipitation. That doesn’t mean it won’t snow again, but if it does, it won’t be the “big one” being hyped, and it won’t happen on March 7th. And you heard that straight from the Farmers’ Almanac!