Every year around the middle of September, a copy of “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” arrives at the Daily Inter Lake office, addressed to me. I typically page through the longstanding publication that’s an alleged tried-and-true predictor of how the weather will be over the next year.
The Farmer’s Almanac has been around since 1792, so the publisher obviously has had enough success in doling out forecasts to keep the volume coming year after year. But the good old Almanac seems to have a new twist this year. Perhaps it was a young marketing consultant on steroids with a mission of jazzing up the 227-year-old publication to keep it relevant.
This year, instead of using the same mundane predictions on its national weather map — with descriptions such as extreme cold, wetter than normal, etc. — the Almanac has issued forecasts with a lighter mood. The Midwest, for example, will see “Sizzle & Drizzle” next summer, while the deep south will be “Muggy & Buggy.” Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota and a stretch of the U.S. reaching to New Mexico border will be simply “Scorching.”
In our neck of the woods, Western Montana, Idaho and Eastern Washington, reaching southward to Nevada and Utah, can expect “Dampness to Downpours,” next summer, whatever that means.
The Almanac’s front cover promises the publication is “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor,” but in my opinion their attempt at levity seems rather lame.
The upcoming winter forecasts are just as curious. The northern tier of the U.S. from Washington to Michigan will see “A Parade of Snowstorms.” The Midwest will experience conditions such as “Snowy, Icy, Icky,” and “More Wet Than White.” Texas, for the most part, will be “Pleasant,” while New England should get ready for “Wet & Wild” weather this winter, and “Wicked Hot” weather next summer.
Accompanying the Farmer’s Almanac this year was a break-out flier exclaiming: “Out Cold! Get Ready for Winter’s Wallop!” It says “7 major snowstorms predicted,” including two in April 2020 for the Intermountain region west of the Rockies. This “snow-verload” (another attempt at humor) will include storms pummeling Washington state and points eastward across the northern-tier states into Michigan.
I get the need to remain relevant with one’s audience. The newspaper industry faces the same kind of pressure of finding the right mix of articles for today’s readers. The Farmer’s Almanac notes its “wit and wisdom” is now available on Facebook Pinterest, Instagram and other digital outlets.
This year’s edition does include several interesting articles. There’s one about donkeys and their extraordinary memories and another titled “Learn how your toes are giving you away.”
The annual almanac is quite a treasure trove of trivia and seems to live up to its motto: “New, Useful, and Entertaining Matter.” The publication claims an average accuracy rate of 80 percent in forecasting the weather.
I, for one, hope this year’s prediction of “A Parade of Snowstorms” is dead wrong.
News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.