Using the 'Old Farmer's Almanac' to plan next year's family vacation

Using the 'Old Farmer's Almanac' to plan next year's family vacation

Parenting

Using the 'Old Farmer's Almanac' to plan next year's family vacation

As summer rolls relentlessly on, in Arizona at least, it’s probably not the best time to tell you that next summer in the Southwest desert is going to be hotter than normal.

So proclaims the periodical noted for combining meteorology and folksiness, the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Such a prognostication is a bit like forecasting your children will experience scattered tantrums this week with a 90 percent chance of time-outs. It’s more an inevitability than a prediction.

Almanac editors, however, say they rely on various scientific and research-based methods, including historical trends and solar activity, to plot out a year’s worth of weather generalities.

Using solar activity dates back to 1792 (and the founding of the Almanac) when forecasts were limited to, “Those dark clouds on the horizon mayhaps bringeth rain. Or not.”

For those planning next year’s San Diego trip, the 2018 Almanac says hottest periods will be in mid- to late June and early August. July will be slightly less hot than normal (refraining from the word “cooler,” a misleading term when applied to summer temperatures). August 21-28, however, will be hot, despite a few thunderstorms. The Almanac does not shy away from specific forecasts – not with solar activity on its side.

In non-summer weather predictions, the Southwest deserts will experience a colder winter, particularly in late November and early December, and again mid-January to early February. April and May will be wetter than normal with slightly cooler temperatures.

If you’re getting antsy for ski season, keep your eyes on December and mid-January when, according to the Almanac, Flagstaff and the White Mountains will receive more snow than normal. Other snow-sport sweet spots, based on higher-than-normal precipitation, are early to mid-February and early March.

Those who make plans based on these prognostications should know this – the Old Farmer’s Almanac claims 80 percent forecasting accuracy.

That’s a shaky B, but could verge on an A when grading on a weather curve and taking into account weak-kneed meteorologists who fear forecasting beyond 10 days, because that’s where their precious computer models start to diverge.

I appreciate all the old farmers who make the Almanac’s weather predictions. And I don’t point my finger at them for that errant 20 percent. I blame solar activity for not keeping up.

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