Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Farmers’ Almanac Still Used

Story first appeared in USA TODAY.
The Farmers' Almanac has a hole punched in the corner, made for hanging it on a hook in the outhouse "library" in the olden days. These days, though, there are some higher-tech options, including social networks, cellphones and e-readers used for predicting when you should do fall lawn care.
Known for forecasts that use an old-fashioned formula, the almanac now has a mobile website for smartphones and nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter. More than 30,000 people "like" the publication's Facebook page. By year's end there'll be software applications for Kindle, Nook and iPad.
Karen Shackles, of Dillon, Colo., follows the almanac on Twitter and Facebook, checks its website and receives its email newsletter. She likes the folksy style of the almanac and appreciates its embrace of technology. She and her husband use the information for their snow-plowing business.
She said they try to reach out to see who is giving some long-range forecasts and then they go through them all and put them together and come up with what we might expect for the winter, and the Farmers' Almanac is one of the best sources for long-range forecasts, which is used by those doing fall lawn maintenance.
The latest version of the annually updated almanac, released this week, is predicting stormier-than-usual weather this winter from the Middle Atlantic to New England. Its reclusive weather prognosticator, who works under the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee, sums it up as a winter of "Clime and Punishment."
Editor Peter Geiger said this one is definitely wet, and definitely stormy, and depending upon where you are, it's going to be either snow or rain, leading farmers to purchase new ag tires.
Elsewhere, the weather formula dating to the 1800s suggests it'll be colder than usual in the Upper Midwest and wetter than usual in the Pacific Northwest.