I have subscribed to the Old Farmer's Almanac for years, for general information, and to do my "Desert Evenings" column. The Almanac, for those readers unfamiliar with it, also does weather forecasts. I recently became curious to see if last year's forecasts were accurate.


The Almanac was founded by Robert B. Thomas in 1792, which also developed a "secret formula" for predicting temperatures and rainfall - although it's not stated if he did these predictions from the onset. They use three disciplines to create them: Sunspots, climatology and metrology. Thomas claimed that sunspots, which are magnetic "storms" on the Sun's surface, greatly influence Earth's weather, and modern science seems to support this to some extent. Climatology is the history of climate regions and prevailing weather, and wind patterns. Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere. The Almanac claims an 80 percent accuracy rate. Mine is better than that, but it's also done daily, not a year in advance. Let's go back to the 2007 Almanac and see how accurate they were.


January 2007: Temperatures below normal, north, and near normal the rest of the State of California; precipitation normal, all areas. Actual: Temperatures near normal and precipitation far below normal.


February 2007: Temperatures and precipitation mostly near normal, all areas. Actual: Temperatures near normal and precipitation below normal (but better than either January or March 2007).


March 2007: Temperatures and precipitation near normal. Actual: Temperatures a little higher than normal and precipitation far below normal.


Winter 2007 Totals: Precipitation should be about 4.11 inches but was only .81 inches.


April 2007: Temperatures and precipitation near normal. Actual: Temperatures normal and precipitation far below normal.


May 2007: Temperatures near normal; precipitation above normal, north, and normal, south. Actual: Temperatures normal; precipitation far below normal - in fact, none recorded.


June 2007: Temperatures above normal; precipitation above normal, north, and near normal, south. Actual: Temperatures a little above normal with no precipitation.


Spring 2007: Precipitation should be .69 inches but only .15 actual inches fell.


July 2007: Temperatures and precipitation normal. Actual: Temperatures normal and precipitation below normal - in fact, only a trace.


August 2007: Temperatures and precipitation normal. Actual: Temperatures normal and precipitation below normal.


September 2007: Temperatures normal and precipitation below normal. Actual: Temperatures below normal and precipitation below normal.


Summer 2007: Precipitation should be .44 inches but was only .22 inches.


October 2007: Temperatures and precipitation above normal. Actual: Temperatures near normal; precipitation near normal.


November 2007: Temperatures and precipitation below normal. Actual: Temperatures normal and precipitation below normal.


December 2007: Temperatures near normal and precipitation below normal. Actual: Temperatures and precipitation normal.


Fall 2007: Precipitation should be 2.25 but only received 1.91 actual inches.


January 2008: Temperatures a little above normal; precipitation above average north, below average south. Actual: Temperatures and precipitation normal.


February 2008: Temperatures and precipitation above average. Actual: Temperatures average and precipitation below normal.


Side note: AccuWeather, Inc., who sponsors the Weather Channel and network and newspaper weather reports, isn't any more reliable than the Old Farmer's Almanac. They are not affiliated with the NWS or NOAA; even they issue some of their warnings regarding weather events.


And by the way, the Almanac is predicting above average temperatures and precipitation for March 2008, and normal temperatures and precipitation for April 2008. I will wait and see. The Old Farmer's Almanac can be purchased at any local bookstore, although, I bought mine although I bought mine at Stater Bros.


I will continue to use the Almanac for astronomical events, like eclipses and meteor showers, and others, but I will not predict my weather according to them. I will continue to do my own.