Tonight we're checking the accuracy of the precipitation forecasts from the Farmer's Almanac for a few months this past winter, starting with December. The larger map on top shows what actually happened, the smaller one is the Almanac's forecast. Oranges indicate drier than average, greens wetter. In a perfect forecast, the maps would be identical. There are a few areas that match, but many areas don't. This is a so-so forecast.

Now take a look at January. Reality was pretty complicated, with scattered patches of wet and dry. Here, there's very little agreement between the two maps. Most notably, the Almanac was forecasting a dry month in most of the East and the Northwest, and both areas ended up slightly wetter-than-average.

I hope this week's series on the Old Farmer's Almanac has illustrated for you just how tough long-range forecasting is, and how wary you need to be of consistent claims of accuracy in such predictions.

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