The Old Farmer's Almanac says it used time-honored, complex calculations to predict that 2008 will be the warmest year in a century, along with a bit of folklore — years that end in "8" have weird weather.
People still talk about the frigid winters of 1748 and 1888, tornadoes of 1908, Northwest floods and the Northeast hurricane of 1938.
"At the very least, we expect it to be the warmest year in the last century overall, so people will talk about it for that reason alone," said publisher John Pierce.
This year's edition, on newsstands Wednesday, predicts a warmer than average winter in much of the country. Believers can look for below-average snowfall, except for a narrow swath extending from northeast Texas to northern New England.
Claiming a secret formula based on sunspots as well as meteorology, the almanac forecasts a hot summer in most areas, but cool and dry in the upper Midwest. It says there will be more rain than normal — except in Florida and the already dry West.
The Almanac, established in 1792, is North America's oldest continuously published periodical. The little yellow magazine still comes with the hole in the corner so it can be hung in outhouses for leisurely reading. It boasts 18.5 million readers.
The Old Farmer's Almanac is not to be confused with the Maine-based Farmer's Almanac, published only since 1818. The 2008 edition of that publication, which went on sale in late August, forecasts plenty of snow this winter across the Northeast, temperatures averaging as much as 3 degrees below normal along most of the Atlantic Coast, and four major frosts as far south as Florida, but with tamer weather in the West.
This year, for the first time, the entire issue of the Old Farmer's Almanac is available electronically.
Editor-in-Chief Jud Hale said incorporating technology should not be surprising.
"If (founder) Robert B. Thomas was alive today, he'd be in the forefront of high tech," Hale said. "He'd want to have the very latest abilities to communicate and do the weather and be involved with science."