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Farmers’ Almanac calls for a wet, wild autumn

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Peter Geiger, Philom., Farmers’ Almanac Editor – 207-755-2246

Sandi Duncan, Philom., Farmers’ Almanac Managing Editor – 908-689-0960

LEWISTON, Maine — With fall right around the corner, the Farmers’ Almanac is releasing its prediction of a wet autumn that could make this year’s foliage less than spectacular for the eyes and a bit soggy for the feet.

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According to the 2008 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac, published in August, Americans should prepare for wet, stormy, and unsettled conditions for much of the fall. Long periods of persistent cold drizzle, punctuated by thundershowers, are expected to dominate late September and much of October.

“Grab your umbrellas as you head out leaf viewing,” warns Peter Geiger, Philom., Editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, “this fall should be a wet, cool one.

“The wet, wild weather predicted for the coming months is likely to have a negative impact this year’s foliage viewing season, as bright, sunny autumn days, with moderately cool nights, contribute to the most spectacular color displays, Geiger said. This year’s autumnal equinox, will occur at 5:51 a.m. EDT, on Sunday, Sept. 23.

This year’s edition of Farmers’ Almanac, released in August, explains how climate conditions affect the color and vibrancy of autumn leaves. Because more sugars are produced on sunny days, then trapped in the leaves during cool nights, a string of such days often results in more of the vivid crimson hues that so thrill leaf peepers. Overcast skies, on the other hand, hamper the production of sugars.

“That’s not to say there won’t be some spectacular leaves, it’s just that there may be less of them,” Geiger added.

Farmers’ Almanac forecaster Caleb Weatherbee bases his long-range weather forecasts on a top-secret mathematical and astronomical formula that figures in sunspot activity, tidal action, the position of the planet in relation to the Sun, as well as a number of other factors. Faithful readers of the Farmers’ Almanac estimate that its annual weather forecast is accurate between 80 and 85 percent of the time.

According the Farmers’ Almanac’s outlook, tropical storms are likely to threaten the East Coast over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the first week of October holds the possibility of flurries for the Great Plains. Early snowfall is also expected visit New England and the Great Lakes region during the opening weeks of November, with cold, damp, unsettled conditions looming over the Thanksgiving holiday in most areas.

The Farmers’ Almanac’s September and October weather forecasts are available online for free at Farmers’ Almanac’s newly designed, multi-media web site, Visitors can click on one of the seven weather zones to get their forecast. Farmers’ Almanacs are also available from the site’s online store. also features a list of peak days for viewing fall foliage across the country, as well as articles and maps. The site also features free streaming videos, like “When leaves show their undersides,” “September Moon,” “October Moon,” and others produced by Farmers’ Almanac TV. Many of these segments are also viewable on the national public television show by the same name.

In addition to its famous long-range weather predictions and astronomical data, this year’s edition of the Farmers’ Almanac also includes countless interesting new articles and annual favorites such as the 12-month Gardening by the Moon Schedule, Best Days to fish, quit habits or view meteors, helpful hints, wit and wisdom of days gone by, tide tables, humor, brainteasers and much more.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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