How Wrong Was The Farmers Almanac Forecast This Year?
I might be on a little weather tangent today, but that's OK. When it's hot, humid, wet, and miserable, everybody gets a pass for a little complaining. As I was ranting about having to continue the twice-weekly mowing at my little slice of heaven, I got to wondering if we were all warned by the supreme beings that use the most comprehensive historical data to predict long term forecasts across this nation... the Farmers Almanac.
I spent quite a lot of time in rural Oklahoma growing up. While people across the small towns and family farms of this state disagree on politics, which brand of truck is best, and which denomination of religion is the correct one, the one thing they all agree on is the Farmers Almanac. Whether they buy them off store shelves in the fall or subscribe to have them mailed, I can't remember visiting a single farm house in this state that didn't have that little annual paperback on the side-table of the family recliner. Those old school farmers lived by it.
If you've ever read one, you might have realized most of it is pretty generic to fit most any situation that could arise. I think it was the summer of 1999 when a crazy amount of mid-summer rain fell for two whole weeks, and when talking about how weird it was, I remember someone showing me that "The Almanac" said it would happen. I'll never forget the explanation in reading "Periods of the summer may be wetter than normal, but otherwise dry." Even at sixteen years old, it sounded like snake oil. So I thought I'd check to see what the almanac said about 2021 way back in fall of 2020.
Annual Weather Summary
November 2020 to October 2021
Winter will be milder and drier than normal, with below-normal snowfall in places that normally receive snow. The coldest periods will be in mid-November, early to mid-December, and late January. The best chance for snow will be in late January. April and May will be cooler and rainier than normal. Summer will be cooler than normal, with the hottest periods in mid-June, mid- to late July, and mid-August. Rainfall will be below normal in the north and above normal in the south. September and October will be cooler than normal, with rainfall below normal in the north and above normal in the south.
After reading that, I try to remember what has happened so far this year. January was warm and dry. February was brutally cold with record snow. March was cool and dry. April was warm and dry. May produced only two thunderstorms over an otherwise horrible history for violent weather. June was extremely wet, July has been the same. I don't think we've reached out hottest temperatures, I'm not even positive we've had our first official 100 degree day yet. More anecdotal snake oil to sooth the rural souls I suppose.
One thing is for sure, the weather at the moment doesn't make August look anymore appealing. Late July, August, and usually early September make up our brutal dog days of summer where temps soar well beyond 100 and just stay, but if the wet weather is expected to continue, I can't imagine what the heat index will be next month.