VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With another system barreling toward the West Coast, we have certainly seen our fair share of tumultuous weather so far this winter.
And you know who has predicted almost all of it exactly?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac!
“It’s been pretty crazy in Vancouver, that’s for sure, but our Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition did actually call this,” says managing editor Jack Burnett.
If you are following along at home, Burnett even points out the page number 222.
“We predicted that the winter would be colder than normal with above normal precipitation and snowfall. We really looked at the temperatures being cold in December and January with a lot of ice and precipitation hanging around,” he tells NEWS 1130. “I have to say that we were pretty close to calling it almost exactly.”
Burnett gives kudos to meteorologist Russ Lacate in the NEWS 1130 Weather Centre, saying he is “always right on,” but also points out the Farmer’s Almanac is correct with its long term forecasts about 80 per cent of the time, historically.
“We use the same formula we developed back in 1792. It takes into account three things. The first is meteorologic — localized conditions like air masses. The second is climatology — long term weather trends in an area. The third thing is solar radiation.”
But where Almanac founder Robert B. Thomas used quill pens and longhand calculations, modern Almanac forecasters rely on computer generated predictions.
And despite their differences, Burnett points out staff at the Almanac have the utmost respect for modern meteorologists.
“Often when I’m on the radio in Canada, people will say the Old Farmer’s Almanac got it right and Environment Canada got it wrong. We always say wait a minute, in world meteorological circles, Environment Canada is one of the most highly respected services on the planet. We have a lot of respect for what they do.”
Burnett says predicting the weather is a lot like making soup.
“We use the same ingredients — scientific data, not wooly bear caterpillars — in our pot. We put in ours and [meteorologists] put theirs and they stir it up and cook it. We do the same.”
Burnett says some people like the taste of one, some like the taste of the other.
“But most people like both, so we have no bones whatsoever with traditional meteorologists.”
The latest storm heading for the Lower Mainland is expected to bring tropical rain, starting Tuesday evening and continuing through Wednesday.
Previous storms this winter have dumped a total of up to 63 centimetres of snow on Metro Vancouver.