The Old Farmer's chief competitor in Maryland - the red-and-white Hagers-town Town and Country Almanack - makes its "conjectures" based on sunspots. And, lacking satellites and ocean bouys, it gathers added forecast data by asking readers to send in woolly bear caterpillars. "My office is swamped with woolly bears," said Gerald W. Spessard, business manager and one-third of the almanac's staff.
Last year's edition mostly missed the big February snowstorm and the persistent cold and wet winter weather. But it did hint that "one or more multi-foot storms could cause the final figure to far exceed this prediction."