Old Farmers Almanac Says More Cold - But Less Snow - For New Hampshire This Winter

Sep 23, 2014

Credit Brady Carlson, NHPR

“Blizzards, drought, hurricanes – be ready.” That taken directly from the cover of the new edition of the Old Farmers Almanac, produced in Dublin, New Hampshire and famous for its weather predictions.

Sarah Perrault is Senior Associate Editor of the almanac, and she joined us for a look at the 2015 edition.

You don’t need me to tell you that predictions of another extremely cold winter with above average snowfall is not going to put a lot of smiles on faces here in New Hampshire! What exactly are we in for in this part of the country?

Actually, we’re pretty lucky in New Hampshire. Other than the below normal temperatures – not great – below normal snow in New Hampshire. Most of the northeast is going to have above average snow, but in New England, we’re looking for below average snow. So probably as cold as last year but not as much snow.

I’ve read about efforts at the University of New Hampshire to update weather and climate models for farmers, because of climate change. Does the Almanac staff make those kinds of adjustments too?

When we’ve asked our meteorologist this question, because people ask us this question: we recognize climate change is happening and he does fortify the formula a little bit to make differences for it. But really, climate is so cyclical that using climatology to make our predictions really is the most important, along with the sunspots. But we do know climate change is happening – it’s much warmer in say, urban dwellings like New York City than it used to be, because of the people. So we are making adjustments, but not too many.

The methods by which the Almanac makes its forecasts is a little like the formula for Coca-Cola, kept pretty tightly under wraps. Who gets to know, other than the meteorologist?

It’s locked in a black box in the office at Dublin. I’ve seen the box – I haven’t seen inside the box – but it’s the formula they were using back in 1792, so it’s pretty frail, you don’t want too many people touching it. But it is based on solar cycles, climatology, meteorology, and our meteorologist uses radar and all the things that are available thanks to technology, but it’s still based on those three scientific principles.  

Food has always been a part of the Old FARMER’S Almanac, of course, but your coverage is expanding, both in the almanac and in a collection of comfort food recipes. If the weather is going to be as cold this winter as the forecast is saying, is there a particular recipe we might want to turn to that might keep us warmer?

How about the buffalo chicken dip? That’s got heat in it, to keep you warm, make you sweat – maybe then you’re going to go outside and cool off.