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“Catastrophic” Storm Ravages East Coast, Farmers’ Almanac Not Surprised

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DATE: February 12, 2014

Contact: Peter Geiger, Philom., Editor 207-755-2246 –
Sandi Duncan, Philom., Managing Editor – 207-755-2349 –

Lewiston, ME: As a nasty storm, dubbed “Pax” by the Weather Channel, tears its way up the East Coast of the United States, the Farmers’ Almanac reminds weather watchers that it predicted the storm nearly two years ago.

As of Wednesday morning, heavy snow, punishing wind, and thick ice crippled the Southeastern U.S. In some areas, as much as a half an inch of ice encased the region, stranding commuters and leaving more than 93,000 customers from Alabama to North Carolina without power.

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The storm will move into the Mid-Atlantic region by Wednesday afternoon before heading to New England, where it is expected to dump up to 18 inches in parts of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

In an early Wednesday memo, the National Weather Service called the storm “an event of historical proportions,” noting that the ice, especially, would be “catastrophic … crippling … paralyzing … choose your adjective.”

To the 197-year-old Farmers’ Almanac, though, this week’s weather comes as no surprise. In its 2014 edition, which hit newsstands last August, but was compiled during the fall of 2012, the Almanac warned that a major storm would move through the Appalachian Mountain region, bringing a wintry mix and potential flooding. On the outskirts of the storm, the publication predicted cold and heavy precipitation.

“Unlike local meteorologists, who are able to change their predictions minute-by-minute, we are willing to go out on a limb and provide long-range forecasts that are set in stone from the day we publish,” said Farmers’ Almanac editor, Peter Geiger, Philom.

“People use our forecasts in ways that aren’t possible with a daily, or even 10-day, forecast. We get calls from municipalities trying to decide how much salt to buy for the roads, and from brides-to-be hoping to pick a sunny date for their big day.”

This week’s storm is just the latest development in what has proven to be one of the coldest winters in recent memory for the eastern half of the United States. The National Weather Service reports that this winter has been the coldest of the 21st Century in many regions, and colder than any in more than 30 years for some.

Those reports are consistent with the Farmers’ Almanac’s forecast, which warned in August that “the ‘days of shivery’ are back.” In its seasonal outlook for the coming winter, the 2014 Almanac predicted “a winter that will experience below average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation. A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England.”

The Farmers’ Almanac, which has been predicting the weather since 1818, bases its long-range weather forecasts on a mathematical and astronomical formula that takes things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon, the position of the planets and a variety of other factors into consideration. It is one of the only sources brave enough to publish a long-range outlook more than a year in advance. Independent readers have determined that the Farmers’ Almanac forecast is accurate 80 to 85 percent of the time.


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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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