Nature’s Predictions: Winter Weather

wooly bear cat

Herbdoc has yet another timely and helpful post:

New England folklore tells us that the wooly bear caterpillar (the larva of the Isabella tiger moth or Pyrrharctia Isabella) can predict how harsh a winter is in store.  If the brown band in the middle is large, it will be a mild winter; if narrow, a severe one.

Severe winters are also forecasted by:

  • an abundance of acorns
  • very dense feathers on chickens or thick coats on raccoons
  • Very thick skins on onions or corn husks
  • Crickets in the chimney or on the hearth
  • Frequent halos around the sun or the moon.

Old timers swear that winter weather can be forecasted by the shape of persimmon seeds.  Seeds are cut in half, and the shape inside predicts the weather.  If the cut seed has the shape of a knife, the winter will be so cold that the wind will feel like it’s cutting through you.  If a fork shape appears, the winter will be mild with light dustings of snow, but if the seed looks like a spoon, the winter will be harsh with much snow to shovel.

a persimmon seed

Is this persimmon seed trying to tell us something?

Another prediction of winter is made from fog or late leaf fall.  For every fog in August, there will be a resultant snow in the winter, and an old rhyme tells us:

When leaves fall early,

Fall and winter will be mild;

When leaves fall late,

Winter will be severe.

Given that we have already had a significant snowfall as close as Massachusetts, that the leaves on my trees continue to be abundant and green, and we have had a massive amount of acorns, I’m wondering if we’re due for a harsher winter this year.  I believe I’ll buy a persimmon this week and wait patiently to see if my suspicions are confirmed.

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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9 Responses to Nature’s Predictions: Winter Weather

  1. Wendy says:

    how fun!! I’ll have to try these tricks!

    Actually, I’ll share a funny RI story with you. When my husband and I were at URI, I was listening to a meteorologist explain what was going on. Later, I was telling my husband that the weather was going to be particularly harsh because we were having a “noreastah”. He was like, what?? I kept saying it over and over – noreastah. And he said, you mean a noreaster? oooohhhh…I had never heard of a noreaster and just went by how the meteorologist with the RI accent said it.

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  2. Wendy says:

    how fun!! I’ll have to try these tricks!

    Actually, I’ll share a funny RI story with you. When my husband and I were at URI, I was listening to a meteorologist explain what was going on. Later, I was telling my husband that the weather was going to be particularly harsh because we were having a “noreastah”. He was like, what?? I kept saying it over and over – noreastah. And he said, you mean a noreaster? oooohhhh…I had never heard of a noreaster and just went by how the meteorologist with the RI accent said it.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

    Like

  3. Peg says:

    This was a fun article. It would be great if we all had time to set up scientific studies of some of this stuff. The persimmon seed theory is no more far-fetched than studing tree-rings or ice-layers to identify past climate events…

    Except we’re talking about predicting the future, rather than reading the past. Spooky thought, right in time for Halloween season!

    I’m not willing to dismiss these ideas until they’ve all been scientifically disproven. You never know!

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  4. HerbDoc says:

    Having taught school for years, I find that these ideas are great observation/discussion ideas for kids. Sometimes the ideas behind the old wisdom are best. I never fail to buy a copy of the Farmer’s Almanac because it’s filled with great information and tries to keep some of the old ways alive.

    And, Wendy, I have to admit that out “Rowdyeland” accent is a hoot!
    I’m sure a lot of visitors to our state find us hard to understand….especially the dropping of “r’s” where they belong and adding them in where they don’t!

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  5. Grandmama says:

    great article….so good to have this site to read…it is always informative and creative.

    thank you …keep up the great writing.

    look forward to the next one.

    Like

  6. HerbDoc says:

    Glad you’re enjoying it! Stay tuned for more of the “good old days”
    information and some newer research too!

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  7. Layanee says:

    That did look like a spoon so we shall see. We did have snow in RI on Thursday the 15th of October. I’ll give you two guesses as to where that happened…LOL. Still had school the next day.

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  8. HerbDoc says:

    Foster-Gloucester? I just had a Salty Brine flashback! For fun I checked the Farmers’ Almanac; they’re predicting a huge blizzard in February and there are notations of snow throughout the winter.

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  9. auntie beak says:

    hi, jake, thanks for asking. you can enter the following url into your rss reader:

    https://diggingri.wordpress.com/feed/

    hope that helps!

    Like

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