How accurate are the weather forecasts in the Old Farmer’s Almanac?

Dear Tom,
How accurate are the weather forecasts in the Old Farmer’s Almanac?
— Greg Dove, Chicago
Dear Greg,
Several analyses of the accuracy of weather forecasts in the Old Farmer’s Almanac have indicated their predictions are about 52 percent correct in their day-to-day forecasts. Their seasonal forecasts score better. In general, National Weather Service forecasts, both short and long term, are much more accurate.
The current Old Farmer’s Almanac winter forecast for the Chicago area calls for warmer and wetter conditions than normal, and with less snow than we would normally expect. This is based mainly on the expectation of a weak El Nino condition (warmer surface waters than normal in the tropical Pacific Ocean) to prevail during the winter. If this occurs, it should prevent cold-air incursions from lingering in the Midwest.