Sunday, August 25, 2013

Farmer's Almanac predicts snowstorm during NY/NJ Super Bowl

The Farmers' Almanac usually isn't the first publication you check out when you're sizing up the Super Bowl but — with this year's big game being held outside in a cold weather location for the first time — it might be more important than any NFL guide.

That is if you believe the 197-year-old publication's prediction that a winter storm will hit the Northeast the weekend of Feb. 2 — when Super Bowl XLVIII will be played outdoors at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

The publication — which hits newsstands Monday — is using words like "piercing cold," ''bitterly cold" and "biting cold" to describe the upcoming winter. And if its predictions are correct, the first outdoor Super Bowl in years will be a messy blizzard.

 It also predicts a colder-than-normal winter for two-thirds of the country and heavy snowfall in the Midwest, Great Lakes and New England.

"We're using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It's going to be very cold," said Sandi Duncan, managing editor.

Green Bay and Buffalo fans must laughing in their long johns.

Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac's secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818.

Modern scientists don't put much stock in sunspots or tidal action, but the almanac says its forecasts used by readers to plan weddings and plant gardens are correct about 80 percent of the time.

Last year, the forecast called for cold weather for the eastern and central U.S. with milder temperatures west of the Great Lakes. It started just the opposite but ended up that way.

Caleb Weatherbee, the publication's elusive prognosticator, said he was off by only a couple of days on two of the season's biggest storms: a February blizzard that paralyzed the Northeast with 3 feet of snow in some places and a sloppy storm the day before spring's arrival that buried parts of New England.

The Maine-based Farmers' Almanac, not to be confused with the New Hampshire-based Old Farmer's Almanac, which will be published next month, features a mix of jokes, gardening tips and home remedies.

Now, instead of cures for runny noses, maybe it will come up with a way for New York and New Jersey to keep buses and trains from coming to a standstill. 

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