The old farmer's almanac is fun but not scientific - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The old farmer's almanac is fun but not scientific

(WMC) -

Forecasting the weather for the next seven days is usually a challenge unless a quiet weather pattern is in place thanks to a big high pressure system. And even then, clouds can sneak in and throw the forecast off some.

Meteorologists (including myself) use a wide range of data and information to make that forecast. This includes recent weather trends and current conditions at all levels of the atmosphere as well as several computer models. These forecast models use complicated physics, math and thermodynamics along with some climatology to produce a forecast.

One thing we don’t rely on is the old farmer’s almanac. In the weather community, we have always known that these forecasts, especially long range (months ahead), are about as reliable as using Phil’s shadow to predict if it will stay cold the next six weeks.

Long before we had all this technology and information, many people, including farmer’s, used the almanac to get an idea of what to expect over the next month or two. But even prior to 1950, some knew that there was a portion of entertainment value to the information and it had no true scientific basis. Still, many swore by the information. And now, a major airline is using the same information to prepare for future weather events down the road.

This is not a good idea at the least and in the worst case, it could be dangerous depending on how much they rely on it. When it comes to long range forecasts, the science isn’t even there yet. The best forecasters in the world can’t provide a specific and consistently right forecast that far out. The farmer’s almanac never has and never will.

The best option for this company and any companies or even just everyday consumers is always to seek out a meteorologist, the national weather service or a private weather company to get a solid forecast.

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Morning Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook: Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @sdentonwx

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