There are an awful lot of headlines swirling around this week about how this summer is going to be more miserable than any summer you, or your parents, or your parents' parents, or their parents have ever suffered through. "Stifling!" one critic forecasts, "Oppressive!" another predicts. You thought you knew heat and humidity, but that was nothing compared to the sweat-soaked melting skin you'll experience in the Summer of 2014 hashtag SOLAR VORTEX.
You asked for it, the NY Post says—"New Yorkers who have been praying for relief from this year’s brutal winter will soon be getting exactly what they wished for." Their report is based on the 2014 edition of the Farmer’s Almanac, which "predicts the New York area will be socked by a wet, hot summer that’s set to dump a higher-than-average amount of rain across the five boroughs," on top of being "oppressively hot and humid."
But let's calm down and look at The Facts—our own weatherman Joe Schumacher explains the deal with these Farmer's Almanac forecasts. When asked if the most recent predictions were in any way reliable, he told us, "It's true in the same way a stopped clock tells the correct time twice a day." Schumacher further explains:
"While I love these old almanacs, no forecast that predicts specific weather for specific days months in advance has any shred of credibility. That sort of forecast, where the exact weather is predicted, shows no skill beyond about ten days and becomes theoretically impossible beyond 2-3 weeks. Predicting weather further out from that is an exercise in probability, where the questions become 'what are the chances of June being warmer than normal?' or 'what is the probability that summer will be drier than normal?' rather than what's the weather going to be like on a particular day. Saying now that a hurricane will threaten the East Coast from Sept. 16-19 is the equivalent of selling snake oil.
"But! There is an unstated kernel of truth in that article. There is some agreement among long-range forecasters that an El Niño, a warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, will develop this summer. Generally, an El Niño is associated with fewer tropical storms bothering the northeast and warmer winters, but it is way too soon to say that's going to happen because nobody knows if an El Niño will form, how strong it will be if it does form, and how long it will last."
So how many thongs do you need to buy for summer? Probably just the normal amount.