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Snow or no snow this winter? That is the question.

  • Charles County,St Mary's County,Calvert County,Prince George's County,Anne Arundel County
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Hollywood, MD- Will we see a relatively mild winter like last year or will we get slammed by another blizzard like the year before? Well, that depends on who you ask.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its similarly named competitor, The Farmer’s Almanac, have very different predictions for the mid-Atlantic during the winter of 2017-2018.

Courtesy of Old Farmer's Almanac

If you like snow, then you won’t be happy with the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It predicts a mild and wet forecast. The winter is expected to be much colder than last year but not colder than usual. Around the country, precipitation is expected to be higher than normal, including the mid-Atlantic, but it will be wet not white.

Courtesy of Farmer's Almanac

However, if you don’t like the sound of that forecast, there’s also the Farmer’s Almanac. It suggests a snowy winter coming our way. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, winter is expected to be--well, like winter. Temperatures are expected to be colder and much of the country will experience above-normal precipitation.

The Farmer’s Almanac goes one step further and predicts several days of heavy precipitation along the Atlantic Seaboard; January 20-23, February 4-7 and 16-19 and March 1-3 and 20-23.

How accurate are these predictions? It depends on who you ask. Both the Old Farmer’s Almanac and The Farmers’ Almanac have been predicting the weather since the time of George Washington. The Old Farmer’s Almanac started in 1792 and has an accuracy rate of 52-percent. The Farmer’s Almanac started in 1818 and has an accuracy rate of 80-percent.

Both almanacs use a variety of formulas to devise their predictions. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is based on a top-secret formula that takes into account sun spots and other solar activity, prevailing weather patterns and meteorology. The Old Farmer's Almanac’s secret formula is locked in a black box in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Of course, there have been years when the Old Farmer’s Almanac completely missed its mark. In the winter of 2012, the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted freezing, snowy weather, when it fact it was the fourth warmest winter on record in the United States.

The Farmer’s Almanac states it also uses a top-secret formula to make its predictions. It’s said to use a mathematical and astronomical formula that also relies on sun spots, tidal activity, planetary position and other factors.

The Almanac's forecaster is referred to by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee. According to the publishers, the true identity of the forecaster is kept secret to prevent him or her from being "badgered".

Meteorologists are skeptical of the almanacs’ weather forecasting methods. Other say they’re on point. Meteorologists claim the formulas do not take into account pressure systems, cyclical weather patterns and climate change.

The moral to this story? You’ll just have to wait and see what Mother Nature really has in store for us this winter.

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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