Some people still give groundhogs, crickets and woolly caterpillars a shot at weather forecasting.
When those people -- perhaps too often caught without umbrellas or snow tires -- grow weary of wives' tales, there's the Farmers' Almanac.
Though not accepted as a scientific source of forecasting data, the almanac has a generations-old method of foretelling the weather. Used since 1818 and known only to the almanac's prognosticator, the formula considers mathematical and astronomical factors and sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon and positioning of the planets, said Sandi Duncan, managing editor.
That formula shows a cold and snowy winter for the York area, a white Christmas and snow this week, unlike the unusually warm weather last time around, Duncan said.
The almanac didn't predict last winter's warm spell, nor did it warn of Hurricane Sandy last week. But Duncan said the almanac is a valuable tool that offers a longer-range prediction than more traditional means, such as the National Weather Service, that limit forecasts to about two weeks.
The almanac is prepared more than a year in advance.
It's the most reliable place to turn for people who are getting married in a year or who have big plans in six months, she said.
What it says: The almanac's long-term forecast calls for storms with
heavy rain and snow for Nov. 4-7, a prediction that agrees with modern meteorology. National Weather Service forecasters are expecting a nor'easter to hit the East Coast Wednesday into Thursday, though the latest forecast calls for no more than a glancing blow in the York area.
The almanac isn't as geographically specific as a traditional forecast, lumping Pennsylvania into a region that includes New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
For this region through the end of November, the almanac is calling for light snows and flurries in New England, "fair" weather Nov. 12-15, storms Nov. 16-19, and rain and wet snow for Thanksgiving.
The rest of the month is listed as fair or generally fair.
It calls for some snow in every week of December, including for Christmas, and "major snowstorms" Feb. 12-15 and March 20-23.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.