EL PASO WINTER OUTLOOK: The Farmer's Almanac vs. the Old Farmer's Almanac

EL PASO, Texas - The Farmer's Almanac and the Old Farmer's Almanac are two of the longest running publications in U.S history. But if you ask around, you'll get a mixed response on what exactly both are.

ABC-7 spoke with editors of both almanacs to better clarify what each publication offers and how they both began.

First published in 1792, the Old Farmer's Almanac went from a 55-page publication to now a nearly 300 page book which offers long-range weather forecast.

"Robert B. Thomas, he grew up in a farm in western mass. In the 1700s. And he like everyone around him read the farmers almanacs of his day and our understanding is that he somehow took them to be inadequate. So when he grew up he decided he was going to create his own Farmer's Almanac and this is what he produced," said Janice Stillman, Editor of Old Farmer's Almanac. 

The Farmer's Almanac has been around since 1818. The publication first began forecasting for New Jersey and New York, and now forecasts for all of North America.

"The Farmer's Almanac is a publication that essentially is a guide to good living for people," Said Peter Greiger, Editor of Farmer's Almanac.

Over the course of 202 years the publication has had 7 weather prognosticators.

"Our first one, David Young, was a mathematician, a calculator and an astronomer, and he developed a formula that is developed to sun spot activity, planet," Greiger said.

Both almanacs use different formulas to forecast the weather for the North America region.
The Old Farmer's Almanac uses three scientific formulas for their forecast.

"We use solar science which is study of activity on the sun in particular the sun spots. We use climatology, which means we look back in time decades and centuries and compare solar activity then today. And we use meteorology which is the study of the atmosphere," explained Stillman.

While the Farmer's Almanac is based on a mathematical and astronomical formula.

"So our weather is done based on sun spot activity, planned position, the effect the moon has on the earth and that's what allows us to do the weather two years in advance," said Greiger.

A two year advanced weather forecast may be questionable to some, but both almanacs claim that their advanced forecasts are usually 80-percent accurate.

"I think this past year was particularly accurate. I'm told it was somewhere between 80 to 85% accurate," said Greiger.

Both almanacs have already released their winter outlooks for our region.

For snow lovers, the Farmer's Almanac's winter outlook for our region might excite you.

"I think Texas is going to be very very cold. We're saying a teeth chattering cold and snowy winter.So from the beginning to the end it will be a very cold winter. And we talk about a couple of storms in January that might shoot a little bit of snow your way," said Greiger.

But for those hoping that we don't see much snow this winter the Old Farmer's weather outlook for our region might excite you more.

"Generally we're predicting lower than normal temperatures by a couple degrees November, December, January and February. So we're looking to near or slightly below normal snowfall for you folks," said Stillman.


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