Some notes on the venerable Old Farmer's Almanac:
* It is the oldest continuing periodical in the nation, begun by Robert B. Thomas in 1792 when George Washington was still president.
* According to the almanac, this will be a relatively mild winter, punctuated by three heavy snowstorms in the Washington area.
* In 1943, Nazi saboteurs were captured on Long Island and found to be carrying a copy of the OFA. The almanac was banned for the next two years, but 5,000 copies were allowed to be printed each year for the use of the Defense Department.
* It cost $60,000 to punch the hole in the upper left corner of the 3.5 million copies of the almanac printed this year. The hole has been there since 1890.
* Illinois attorney Abraham Lincoln introduced the OFA as evidence in a trial to show that there had not been enough moonlight on Aug. 29, 1857, for a witness to have seen Lincoln's defendant, Armstrong, kill a man. Armstrong was acquitted.
* The cover of the OFA has been yellow since 1850. For the 1981 edition a red pin stripe was added around the border of the cover. The 1982 OFAs have a green stripe; 1983 will show a blue one.
* More Old Farmer's Almanacs are sold in the Chicago area than in any other city.
* The meteorological records of the OFA date back to 1760; those of the Weather Bureau to 1870.
* It takes from Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 each year to print, bind and ship the OFA.
* Since 1970, former NASA solar scientist Richard Head has been participating in the forecasting procedures for the OFA.
* The Harvard Lampoon once parodied the OFA as the great mouthpiece of Agribusiness.
* The 1982 almanac contains 50 pages of ads. A full page ad costs $3,000. The most continuous advertiser has been Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, with the OFA for 105 years.
* Informed on his sick bed in 1815 that no weather prediction had been included in the almanac for July 13 through 17 of 1816, Robert Thomas uttered "snow, hail and sleet." In April 1815, the South Pacific volcano Tambora hurled enough debris into the atmosphere to obscure the sun and cause snow in New England on July 15, 1816.
* The almanac is published in Dublin, N.H., where the first daffodils bloom about May 10.
* About 25,000 letters are sent to the OFA each year. One in 1968 came from a tribe in Goa asking for rain. The day the response (disavowing powers outside the United States) arrived in Goa, the rains also arrived.
* The 1972 almanac called for 200 inches of snow in New England. In the midst of a torrential rainstorm on New Year's Day, forecaster Head realized his calculations had been done for Mount Washington rather than Boston.
* According to the OFA, 65 percent of major storms occur when the moon is full.
* The Union Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan carried an OFA so he could schedule attacks to coincide with times when the sun would be in the eyes of his Rebel opponents in Tennessee.
* The OFA has been edited for the past 21 years by Jud Hale. No one works on it full time, and it is compiled by four or five members of the staff of Yankee magazine. Although it has a staff astronomer, George Greenstein, as well as forecaster Head, no single person makes the OFA forecasts; they are based partly on cycles of 22 years for sunspots and 159 years for cooling and heating. The most recent temperature cycle, which reached a low point in 1962, began when Lewis and Clark were calling the American breadbasket the Great Desert.
* In pre-satellite 1956, then-OFA owner Robb Sagendorph was returning from Europe on the SS America and asked its captain what he planned to do about the next day's hurricane. The captain laughed. The next day Dianne struck.
* The 1982 OFA has 176 pages and costs $1.25.