In this day and age, you can get all kinds of complicated weather forecasts from your phone with the push of a button.
So it must mean something that The Old Farmer's Almanac still sells 2.6 million copies each year.
Published since 1792, the almanac has offered useful weather predictions for both farmers and laymen wondering what the next year will be like.
And their newly-released predictions for 2019 are not so good.
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The general trend for the winter of 2018-19, according to the almanac, is warm and wet weather.
I love snow, but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. Still, a season of pouring rain is not much of an improvement, and that's what the almanac says we're in for.
"This winter, we expect to see above-normal temperatures almost everywhere in the United States, except in the Southwest, where we're predicting a colder-than-normal season," they wrote.
"Our milder-than-normal forecast is due to a decrease in solar activity and the expected arrival of a weak El Ni�o, which will prevent cold air masses from lingering in the North."
In case you're not sure, El Ni�o is a weather pattern that brings warm ocean water and temperatures to the coast of South America.
This small change has a big impact on the weather here in the United States.
Overall, we can expect less snow and more rain across the country. A few exceptions include the interior and parts of the Midwest, where levels for both will be about average.
Whether or not you trust the almanac's forecast, it's in line with the National Weather Service's predictions for this year
How does The Old Farmer's Almanac predict the weather?
If people have been buying the almanac since 1792, there must be something to their predictions, right?
So how does the book's staff manage to predict the weather years in advance with any kind of accuracy?
You probably won't be surprised to learn there's a secret formula involved.
The almanac's original editor, Robert B. Thomas, created his forecasting method by studying solar activity, weather patterns, and even astronomical cycles.
These days, they also include temperature averages recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Thomas's actual formula is a closely-guarded secret, which only a few of the almanac's staff have access too. It's kept in a black box at the book's offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.
The almanac staff claim they can predict the weather with 80% accuracy, but some experts dispute this.
Consulting meteorologist Jan Null claims the almanac's accuracy is closer to just 25 to 30 percent. The fact is predicting weather any further than a week in advance is a challenge for everyone.
"The mysteries of the universe."
The best advertisement for the almanac is the fact that it's still used - and trusted - by plenty of real farmers.
"I mainly look at the weather predictions, that's it and see what winter is going to turn out like," said farmer Jeffery Borger.
"I know my grandfather used to read it all the time for planning reasons, harvesting and all that."
"Sometimes, it's pretty accurate," said farmer Bud Gouger. "Hindsight is 20/20, and if you go back and look you can see it's pretty close sometimes."
Still, almost no one relies just on the almanac's predictions.
"With cell phones now you just look on a weather app and you know what is going on," said Gouger.
The almanac probably summed things up best in their bicentennial issue:
"Neither we nor anyone else has as yet gained sufficient insight into the mysteries of the universe to predict weather with anything resembling total accuracy."
[H/T: Country Living]