Old-Fashioned Winter

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If 'Almanac' is right, we're in for an old-fashioned winter

By G. Michael Dobbs,Managing Editor

Get out the long underwear. Seal the windows. Tune up the snow blower. If "The Old Farmer's Almanac" is right, we're in a for a cold and snowy winter.

"If you get [usually] get snow, you will get snow. This will be more of an 'old-fashioned' winter than we've had in a while," Martie Majoras said. Majoras is a researcher for the "Almanac."

The "Almanac" has been making long-range weather forecasts for 215 years. Majoras said the predictions for last year were about 70 to 75 percent accurate a little lower than what the "Almanac" staff has claimed as its average.

Majoras said that last year the "Almanac" predicted there would a cold January and a warm February. As it turns out in the Northeast, the opposite was the truth. Still, Majoras said the "Almanac's" forecasters noticed a trend.

The forecasters use a secret formula devised by the "Almanac's" founder Robert B. Thomas involving the intensity of sunspots to help craft their predictions along with standard meteorological practices.

There is a change in the cycle of sunspot activity, Majoras said, as well as a change in the effect El Nino a disruption in the ocean and atmosphere in the south Pacific ocean. El Nino can cause both flooding and droughts and Majoras said its effect should not be as strong in the up-coming year.

For the last 20 years the Almanac's" staff have been comparing their forecasts to the actual weather and Majoras said the effects of global warming can be seen.

"The last several winters have been milder," she said. "We have seen a trend."

Despite the large presence weather predictions have on television and the Internet, Majoras said that sales of Almanac" are still strong. Yankee Publishing in Dublin, N.H. printed four million copies for sale in the United States and 400,000 copies for Canada.

Majoras attributed the continual popularity on the blend of content in the "Almanac" articles on everything spotting trends to recipes to the joys of whistling as well as astrological charts and tables on when to plant gardens.

Don't think that the "Almanac" has been passed by on the information superhighway log onto www.almanac.com for more information and even daily podcasts.

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