There are several organizations out there claiming pretty impressive accuracy for long-term forecasting, even months and seasons in advance. As I've said a few times before, you really need to be cautious in accepting any of these claims.

But now there's a chance for these forecasters and others to compete in a nationwide contest to see who really is the best at long-range forecasting. For the first time in history, a private company, Aquila Energy, is sponsoring a long-range weather forecasting contest. This contest will run over the next three years, with a cash prize of $100,000 per year to the forecasting firm or forecaster who most accurately predicts temperatures during the summer and winter.

Seventy-nine forecasters have entered the contest, which will focus on 13 cities, one of them Philadelphia. And the forecasts will be monitored by the American Meteorological Society, the national professional organization for atmospheric scientists in this country.

I'll keep you updated on the contest and its results.

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