An accurate weather forecast for farmers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as well as in all farm country in Pennsylvania, is critical to setting planting and harvesting schedules and has a major effect on a successful growing year.

Meteorologist Eric Horst, a Lancaster native, and recently retired meteorologist at Millersville University — who has worked with students preparing for the profession for more than 30 years  — is one of the best in getting the forecast right.

Weather in this southeast Pennsylvania is complex and variable, Horst said, with influencers from Lake Erie, the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and several mountain ranges. He said it isn’t unusual for variables to change forecasts tomorrow that looked good yesterday.

Horst explained that the growth and sophistication of computer modeling of the atmosphere in the past 40 years has helped meteorologists improve their weather forecasting to a week or more, and as technology improves, it only will get better.

Horst also has great respect for farmers who have been working the land for years and in families on farms for generations.

“Farmers know how to seize the moment and watch the forecasts carefully to get their planting or harvesting done even between major weather fronts that pass through the area,” Horst said.

Horst also is a technical climber and traveled the country alone and with his sons climbing difficult rock faces. 

Art Petrosemolo is a freelance correspondent and photojournalist in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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