Farmer’s Almanac Says Rockford’s In For A Cold, Snowy Winter
I know what you're saying. "Why, that just can't be right! When has it ever been both cold and snowy in Rockford during the winter?" Stunning as it seems, we do sometimes get both.
I'm reminded of the Blues Brothers movie, where a woman explains the music that a bar features. "We've got both kinds. Country and Western."
We live in Northern Illinois, where we get freezing temperatures and plenty of snow. Some years are lighter in one or both of those occurrences, but we know we're still gonna get them both.
For those feeling a bit snarky (like me, right now), maybe you'll get on board once you realize that The Farmers’ Almanac says it bases its long-range forecast "on a mathematical and astronomical formula developed in 1818." That year, as I'm sure you'll recall from history class, was the year that Illinois became a state. I didn't realize that it was also the year that super-accurate mathematical and astronomical weather forecasting got rolling in America. Well, one of those two things happened, anyway.
Maybe the Farmer's Almanac is too new-agey for you. Luckily, we can turn to the Old Farmer's Almanac for weather info, too. What do they say about Rockford area weather? Pretty much the opposite of The Farmer's Almanac:
So, which one of these venerable publications is the real deal when it comes to weather prognostication? Well...it looks like neither one.
Why so much flak for the Almanac? Well, it's more or less the equivalent of throwing a dart at a board full of meteorology terms. The now-defunct Vane website (RIP) went so far as to call its forecasts "a bunch of malarkey" in 2015, many other news sites have reported the same thing. The Almanacs say they can predict weather with around 80 percent accuracy, a University of Illinois study disagreed, saying the Almanac was only 52 percent accurate—which is essentially random chance.
Whatever. The eggheads at Popular Mechanics can say what they want, but I plan on wearing a coat and having a shovel on hand this winter just in case we're all shocked and amazed that it's cold and/or snowing between December and March. Crazy things have been happening this year.