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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Spiders and Winter Weather

With our new interactive site up and running, I asked for questions. Here are a couple that may be of interest:

We have been working on an historical weather feature.

Q. Maybe I didn’t see it on the web page, but why are your weather reports limited to the past no further than 1945?

A. Of course the Farmers’ Almanac is best known for it’s long range – 2 years in advance predictions – but I am frequently asked about what happened on a specific date in the past. We are not in a position to capture specifics for every part of the country. But, the frequency of questions spurred us into finding a way to capture the data and share it with you. That said, a tremendous amount of effort went into pulling past data to our site. The few sites that have tried something like this have gone go back to the mid 70s. We had to draw a line at a certain date and decided that 62 years would answer 99.9% of the inquiries I have ever received. So, it was an arbitrary choice but based upon numerous questions, and the effort it took to make the connection work.

Later this month I will discuss the 20 Signs of a Hard Winter. Stay tuned for our winter forecast and then dictions and then we will point out those signs of nature that offer insights into what to expect, at least according to nature.

Q. We are noticing trees that are incased in cobwebs. Does this have a significant meaning?

A. Spiders can be predictors of winter weather. Spiders spinning larger than usual cobwebs and/ or entering the house in great numbers may mean a rough winter ahead. Time will tell.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.