The Man Behind the 40-Inch Snow Rumor | NBC 10 Philadelphia

The Man Behind the 40-Inch Snow Rumor

Mumblings of a 40 inch snowstorm have public panicked, but it's all just a rumor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Berks County native Lester Moyer says he's really sorry about the panic created by a rumor that we could get 40 inches of snow on March 7. (Published Wednesday, March 3, 2010)

    Have you heard the rumor that we're getting 40-inches of snow on March 7? Because we have -- more times than you can count over the past few days.

    From your mother to your aunt, father to your brother, people seem to be expecting the largest snowfall in our history to hit the region this Sunday.

    Debunking the 40-Inch Snow Rumor

    Debunking the 40-Inch Snow Rumor
    You heard it too? 40 inches on March 7 -- not gonna happen. (Published Tuesday, March 2, 2010)

    But the only problem is that it's not true. It's all a big fat rumor.

    So where did all this panic stem from? A 65-year-old Exeter Township, Pa. man named Lester Moyer.

    "I didn't realize people had such hysteria, you know, so all I can say is sorry," he said.

    Lester, who's been publishing his own weather almanac -- Moyer's Almanac -- for 31 years, predicted that the area would see "high winds and drifting snow" on March 7.

    But when the amateur weatherman -- who reads the weather through moon phases, cloud formations and animal behavior -- was interviewed by a Berks County paper in mid-February, he made his snowfall total prediction. And it was a doozie.

    "If I had to give it an indication, I would say we're looking at 40 inches or maybe plus. That's the worse scenario," he said.

    And the tale spread from there, like whisper down the lane.

    The largest snowfall ever recorded in our area was just over 30 inches -- so this storm was set to shatter the record.

    Now the snowed-out public is panicked and even Lester's a little ticked off about the whole situation.

    "I said that was a potential, a worst-case scenario that I didn't think had a chance," he told NBCPhiladelphia. "But some folks in the media only heard that part and ran with it."

    We've searched for the news outlet that ran the original story, but haven't been able to find it. More recent articlespeg several different papers with the illustrious title of being the original interviewer -- leaving the trail cold.

    Although he has no meteorological degree, Lester says his customers swear by his almanac's accuracy.

    "The people that buy my Almanac say I'm 85 to 95 percent accurate, you know, and they plan their vacations and their family get togethers around my predictions," Lester says. "Of course, I, you know, get the naysayers, you know, who say, you know, I'm some kinda a kook, you know, but it was a way of life years ago."

    He apparently correctly pinpointed the first two major storms in February, months before they hit.

    "In the almanac, Lester predicts bad weather days on Feb. 4 and 5 - Berks got 17.2 inches Feb. 5. He also predicted "something wicked this way cometh" Feb. 8 to 11 - we got 23 inches in a blustery storm on Wednesday, which was Feb. 10," Reading Eagle reporter Ron Devlin writes.

    But what do real scientists think about all of the hubbub created by Lester's guesses?

    "I'd love to see a track record of his forecasts…so we can independently verify," said meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz. "You never know, maybe somebody has found some way that they can predict the weather that far in advance."

    However, this time around, there's nothing to worry about. There aren't even any storms on the way to produce all that snow.

    "The pattern has changed," Glenn said. "On March the 7th, it's not gonna snow. It's not even cold enough to snow and there's no storm."