Long before weather satellites began whizzing above the Earth and Dopler radars, sending pulses of microwave radiation to gather weather data, it was the almanac that kept people in touch with what was going on weatherwise. 

The earliest almanac, in the modern sense, is the Almanac of Azarqueil written in 1088 by Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al-Zarqali in Toledo, al-Andalus, Spain. It provided the true daily positions of the sun, moon, and planets for four years from 1088 to 1092. 

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What Is The Oldest United States Almanac? 

Wikipedia claims that next in line is Poor Richards’s Almanack, published by Benjamin Franklin from 1732 to 1758, saying the Almanack was an, 

..offering a mixture of seasonal weather forecasts, practical household hints, puzzles, and other amusements. Poor Richard's Almanack was also popular for its extensive use of wordplay, and some of the witty phrases coined in the work survive in the contemporary American vernacular

However, it’s the trusty Old Farmer’s Almanac, which many of us have grabbed from the grocery store magazine rack while standing in line to cash out, that now predicts the upcoming weather patterns. It was Robert Bailey Thomas who founded the publication in 1792. 

A Secret Formula In A Mysterious Black Tin Box 

The initial cost of the little pamphlet, which helped guide the early farmers in their planting ventures, could be purchased for around 4 cents. Thomas started drilling a hole in the Almanac so that subscribers could hang it from a nail or string. 

Thomas studied solar activity, astronomy cycles, and weather patterns and used his research to develop a secret forecasting formula, which is still in use today. Word has it that few people have seen the formula, which is kept in a black tin box at the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire. 

A Formula That Few Have Seen, In A Mysterious Black Box

The Old Farmer's Almanac formula, used for predicting the weather, is kept in a mysterious black box.


Old Farmer’s Almanac Says August Could Be A Dilly 

The secret formula was once again put in use for 2023 and if correct, August may be a scorcher for Michigan. Boldly stated on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website for August Weather Predictions, 

Sure, August is a hot month, but August of 2023 will be even warmer than what’s typical, along with the chance of hurricanes and tropical storms. 

If you live between the Atlantic Coast to the foothills of the Rockies, across central and southern California, and all of Alaska, you can expect August temperatures to be hotter than usual. The temperatures may be somewhat below average elsewhere. 

What About Rain? 

Not only will it be hotter than blazes in Michigan, but it will also probably be drier than normal. Your August bonfire may need to be put on hold. The official forecast for the winter of 2023-2024 has not yet been announced, however, AccuWeather's 2023 Fall Forecast is predicting a major shift for the Midwest as the calendar moves from September into October.

So Just How Accurate Is The Almanac? 

Wikipedia reports that, 

John Walsh at the University of Illinois reviewed five years of monthly forecasts and found 50.7% of the temperature forecasts and 51.9% of precipitation forecasts were in the correct direction, whereas a randomly generated forecast would be correct 50% of the time. 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac humbly stated, in their bicentennial edition, 

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.

Check out This YouTube Video On The Secret Black Box

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