Anonymous Distributor

As we all know, weather plays an integral part in the success of this industry. It is crucial that we plan for spring and summer business during the fall and winter seasons, and that we plan for fall and winter business during the spring and summer seasons. What better way to forecast your lawn and gardening business than to refer to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, right? Judson Hale shares his research on the accuracy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and how well it has served us in the past. But how accurate is The Old Farmer’s Almanac? If you are uncertain of its precision, consider your thoughts after reading the following story.

Here’s a peculiar prediction: Legend says that a July forecast of “rain, hail and snow” mistakenly appeared in The 1816 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Robert B. Thomas, the Almanac‘s founder, recalled the books and had new ones printed, but news of that forecast had gotten out. He became the subject of much ridicule — until July brought rain, hail and snow throughout New England!

I always keep my eye out for copies of the 1816 edition. When I occasionally find one, in some antiques shop or sent to me by a reader, I immediately turn to the July and August calendar pages to see whether they contain the famous snow forecasts Thomas supposedly made for that summer.

To date, all I’ve found is “Now expect good hay weather,” “A storm is not far distant,” or “Sultry with thundershowers.” It’s so disappointing.

Elusive Edition

However, I remain hopeful that a few copies still exist that do indeed predict “The Cold Summer of 1816,” as that summer is known in history books.

There’s no question it did snow in New England and Canada during July and August of 1816. An 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in the East Indies had left volcanic dust circling the globe, lowering temperatures as much as several degrees.

But did the Almanac predict the snow that summer?

Certainly, the story that it did is an integral part of Almanac lore. Some accounts say the printer inserted the snow prediction as a joke while Robert B. Thomas was sick in bed with the flu. The way I’ve always understood it, when Thomas discovered the “error,” he destroyed all — or most of — the “snow” copies and reprinted the 1816 edition with the more conventional summer forecasts. It’s said the word got out anyway, and during the winter and spring of that year, Thomas was repeatedly called upon to deny making such a ridiculous forecast for the following summer. Then, when it really did snow in July, he changed his tune and took full credit. “Told you so!” he allegedly said.

If the story is true, it is one of the earliest and best examples of a subtle skill my uncle always referred to as “almanacsmanship.”

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac for winter 2015-16, the United States will see below-normal temperatures and a very snowy winter season. If you are still a nonbeliever of the authenticity of this weather guide, then test this theory in the coming months. It has been a great tool for many years, and most analysts agree that there is an 80-percent accuracy of its predictions.


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