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FOLKLORE WEATHER PREDICTIONS
Old Folklore and Legends
For as long as I can remember, people have always looked to nature itself in predicting the weather. Old folklores and legends passed down from one generation to the next have been accurate often, even if there is little proof for the reasoning behind their fame.
Although the size of the brown band on a woolly bear caterpillar (Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar) has been proven to have something to do with the temperatures and climate they are subject to. There is no reason to believe in any cause of a color change for an approaching season. Yet since the 1950s after a study done by Dr. C. H. Curran in New York City to prove the theory which he claimed to have 80% accuracy after a small amount of data to back his findings, people still believe a wide brown band means a mild winter. A narrow band on the woolly bear would mean a harsh winter and if the caterpillar is fat and fussy it predicts heavy snow. Data or no data some predictions have been right. It’s a fun way to amuse those who would like to foresee the future weather patterns.
And then we have that famous prediction done on February 2nd every year by a ground hog. If he sees his shadow we’ll have six more weeks of winter and if not spring is just around the corner. Foolish, no doubt as its meaning is so similar, but it’s reason to celebrate despite of the folly. Some cities have festivals surrounding the event and harbor their own celebrity rodent to make the prediction. One of the most known in America is Punxsutawney Phil who lives on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. They claim he has never been wrong.
Another myth thought to have come from Ozark Mountain people although not proven, has been the pattern seen inside the seed of a Persimmon tree which is native to China brought to California in the 1800s. These seeds will show a design resembling that of a knife, a fork, or a spoon. A knife inside predicts an icy cold winter with wind that cuts you. The fork image means a mild winter with possibly light snow. The spoon predicts heavy snow. The fruit from the persimmon is much like that of an apricot.
Nature's Warning Signals
Our grandparents could tell us many ways to predict a bad winter from old folklore passed down from generation after generation. They not only found their achy bones as signs of a storm approaching soon, but could tell you nature’s warning signals to let you know of bad weather coming.
Plants could predict the winter ahead. If you saw fruit trees bloom more than once a harsh winter was expected. If the husk on your corn was thick or the skin on your onions thick then watch out for a bad winter. If the nuts are heavy on the acorn, hickory, or walnut trees then beware of a harsh winter. And a sure sign of rain is when the leaves are turning toward the sky.
If you are being invaded early by mice in your house or barn, this means an early winter approaching. Another sign of early winter is seeing squirrels gather nuts like they are in a hurry to get them stored before the snow comes. Animals, that have thicker fur than normal or are very fat is a sign of colder temperatures coming. If birds are flying south early it’s an early winter or if they are flying north early it’s an early spring.
Even the weather itself has been told to be predictions of the upcoming winter. If it’s foggy in August than extra snow is coming. If we have an early frost the winter will be harsh. A dry summer predicts a cold winter. A warm November calls for a cold winter.
As deer will gather in mass numbers before a storm we can count on the accuracy of their prediction. The signs have been proven by our own observation. Myth or not the weatherman is not alone to forecast the next great storm.