The Farmers’ Almanac that hits newsstands Monday predicts a winter storm will hit the Northeast around the time the Super Bowl is played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
The 197-year-old publication 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 Sondra Duncan, managing editor.
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% of the time.
The Farmers’ Almanac predicts a winter storm will hit the Northeast around the time of Super Bowl
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.
Readers who put stock in the almanac’s forecasts may do well to stock up on long johns, especially if they’re lucky enough to get tickets to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The first Super Bowl held outdoors in a cold-weather environment could be both super cold and super messy, with a big storm due February 1 to 3, the almanac says.
Sondra Duncan said: “It really looks like the Super Bowl may be the Storm Bowl.”
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 corny jokes, gardening tips, nostalgia and home remedies, like feeding carrots to dogs to help with bad breath and using mashed bananas to soothe dry, cracked skin in the winter.
Also in this year’s edition, editor Peter Geiger is leading a campaign to get people to ditch the penny, like Canada is doing.
Past campaigns have focused on moving Thanksgiving to harvest time in October, reconsidering “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem and changing the color of money. This time, Peter Geiger thinks he has a winner.
He wants people to donate pennies to charity and then lobby Congress to stop making them.
“They don’t get used very much. They get tossed. The only real use of a penny is if you save tens of thousands of them, then you can use them to help someone,” Peter Geiger said.
“Once in a blue moon” is not just a phrase we use for those occasional treats or chores, but it is also a rare statistical quirk which occurs when a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month.
Sadly, the moon is not going to turn blue, and indeed the reason why we call it a “blue moon” is lost to history, although the Farmers’ Almanac would always note an occurrence during the 18th century.
Regardless, today, Friday, August 31, will be the first “blue moon” since March 2010 and there will not be another one again until July 2015 – so it’s time to get on with that list of things to do.
With a full moon occurring once every 29 days, and a month topping out with a maximum of 31 days, the combination is a rare one – occurring around once every two-and-a-half years.
Blue Moon is a rare statistical quirk which occurs when a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month
Sadly, we cannot expect the moon to take on a different hue. Barring volcanic eruption, it will remain as white as ever, unless clouds obscure the view.
If a volcano does erupt, then all bets are off, as ash in the sky has been known to play visual tricks with the sun and the moon.
When Krakatoa erupted in Indonesia in 1883 – where ash soared right into the upper echelons of the atmosphere, blue moons were reported around the world, for up to two years.
Krakatoa’s ash is the reason. Some of the ash-clouds were filled with particles about 1 micron (one millionth of a meter) wide – the right size to strongly scatter red light, while allowing other colors to pass.
White moonbeams shining through the clouds emerged blue, and sometimes green.
Blue moons persisted for years after the eruption. People also saw lavender suns and, for the first time, noctilucent clouds.
The ash caused “such vivid red sunsets that fire engines were called out in New York, Poughkeepsie, and New Haven to quench the apparent conflagration”, according to volcanologist Scott Rowland at the University of Hawaii.
Other less potent volcanos have turned the moon blue, too. People saw blue moons in 1983, for instance, after the eruption of the El Chichon volcano in Mexico. And there are reports of blue moons caused by Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
According to NASA, the key to a blue moon is having in the air lots of particles slightly wider than the wavelength of red light (0.7 micron) – and no other sizes present. This is rare, but volcanoes sometimes spit out such clouds, as do forest fires.
Physics professor Sue Ann Bowling of the University of Alaska said: “On September 23, 1950, several muskeg fires that had been quietly smoldering for several years in Alberta suddenly blew up into major – and very smoky – fires.
“Winds carried the smoke eastward and southward with unusual speed, and the conditions of the fire produced large quantities of oily droplets of just the right size (about 1 micron in diameter) to scatter red and yellow light.
“Wherever the smoke cleared enough so that the sun was visible, it was lavender or blue.
“Ontario and much of the east coast of the U.S. were affected by the following day, but the smoke kept going. Two days later, observers in England reported an indigo sun in smoke-dimmed skies, followed by an equally blue moon that evening.”