COLUMN: Farmer’s Almanac proves true againPublished 10:59am Wednesday, July 11, 2012
If you’re over the age of 40 and have lived in this part of the country or have parents and/or grandparents from this area you have probably heard quotes from the almanac. Published annually and in continuous publication for almost two centuries; it is famous for its long-range weather predictions. can remember my grandparents discussing what the almanac recommended in regards to when to plant garden vegetables and what type of weather to expect. Of course, during their lifetimes they used the information available to them. There are also many old tales about predicting weather from how thick the corn husks are to how many nuts the squirrels are gathering. However, if memory serves me correctly most deal with what type of winter weather can be expected. Even when asking others in the office we could not come up with examples of how to predict summer weather. Even with the most sophisticated weather data available today predicting long range seasonal forecasts could be tricky.
If farmers knew that we were going to have extended periods of drought and record-breaking temperatures perhaps it would alter their planting times and maybe even the types of crops they decided to grow. Cattle farmers would need to plan for having water available as well as growing extra hay. TVA could perhaps make different decisions on when to open the dams or when to let the water back up waiting to be released at a time of drought. Unfortunately we have to take what comes our way and deal with the results as they arrive.
As an example, we started out early in the spring with warmer than normal temperatures. Even as early as March we were experiencing summer type weather. Many thought we would have a really long hot summer, but then the weather changed. During late spring when temps should be warming we go back to cooler weather and even worried that early plantings would not survive the much cooler than normal temperatures. During this time we did have rainfall and temperatures started to warm to more normal times. However they failed to stop warming.
From mid-June through early July record-breaking temperatures have been experienced over many parts of the country and unfortunately the rain had stopped as well. But at press time today rain is predicted and cooler temps are in the forecast. But in case you did not look the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s forecast for this summer-cooler than average temps and above average rainfall with our hottest times to be in mid-June.
Randy Garrison is the president and publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer.