How accurate is the Old Farmers Almanac in predicting the weather?

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Dear Tom,
How accurate is the Old Farmers Almanac in predicting the weather?

George Kalinka, Naperville

Dear George,
The Old Farmers Almanac claims a forecast accuracy of 80 to 85 percent, but in reality its forecast accuracy here in the Midwest is on the order of 50 to 52 percent. The Chicago National Weather Service office (located in Romeoville) creates specific weather forecasts for the metropolitan area seven days into the future, and those forecasts are updated approximately every six hours. Forecast accuracy averaged over a considerable period of time is approximately 80 percent during the first three days of the forecast period. Chicago area weather forecasts that appear here in the Chicago Tribune are prepared by meteorologist Tom Skilling and his staff of meteorologists.

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