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The Old Farmer’s Almanac Says We’re in for a Harsh Winter, but How Accurate Is It Really?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has released its 2023-2024 winter weather predictions and claims that “the ‘brr’ is back” after last winter’s unusually warm weather. According to NorthCentralPA.com, the late Dick Goddard—a weatherman from Cleveland—made a list of 20 signs of a long, cold winter ahead, including but not limited to:

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  • Thicker onion and corn husks
  • Snowy owls’ premature arrival
  • Monarch butterflies’ early migration
  • Abundant hair on a cow’s neck nape
  • Spiders weaving unusually large webs/invading homes
  • Pigs gathering sticks
  • Unusually plentiful acorn crop
Image by the Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which just released its 207th edition, claims to be up to 80% accurate, but according to a University of Illinois study, the Almanac is closer to 52% accurate, which is essentially a random chance. 

Last year, the Almanac predicted a cold, snowy winter as well, but weather patterns were “wild” last year. According to the study from the University of Illinois, meteorologists can really only make predictions up to two weeks in advance. And as we continue to deal with climate change, the predictions could become even more inaccurate as weather patterns become more unpredictable.

So Do We Need to Hunker Down This Winter?

We aren’t entirely sure. It’s definitely best to stay prepared and check up on your local forecast frequently. Make sure you’re prepared before the snowy season starts by getting new tires and checking on appliances such as hot water heaters and pipes.

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