What Did The Woolly Worm Say?

Old-timers in Appalachia have many ways of predicting snow-fall and the harshness of winter. Among them are observing various plants and animals, the amount of acorns and other foods that animals rely on in the winter, observing clouds and/or smoke, counting the number of rainy days in the summer, judging the thickness of a horse or cow’s coat and many others.  Perhaps the most reliable is the old rock on a string contraption – when the rock is wet, it is raining, when it is moving, the wind is blowing, if it is white, it is snowing and if you can’t see it, it is foggy!  (go figure)

Among the most peculiar and popular predictors of winter weather is the Woolly Worm.  A woolly worm is essentially a variety of hairy caterpillar that is commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains in the fall.  Interestingly, the hair on the “worm” grows in 13 rings which equal the number of weeks in the winter season.  The woolly worm’s hair grows either black or brown – the ratio of black to brown hair on each ring is believed by many to be a predictor of winter weather in the week corresponding to the ring.

THE OFFICIAL WOOLY WORM PREDICTION

How does the fuzzy critter come up with the forecast? Folklore says that the severity of winter can be predicted by the intensity of the black and brown on the caterpillar.

  • If the wooly worm has more brown on its body than black, it will be a fair winter.
  • If the woolly worm has more black than brown, the winter will be harsh.

Here’s what the winning wooly worm is predicting for this winter. It’s based on 13 weeks, or the number of rings on the wooly worm’s body.

WEEK 1
Light Snow and Cold

WEEK 2
Cold & Snowy

WEEK 3
Cold & Snowy

WEEK 4
Cold & Snowy

WEEK 5
Light Snow & Cold

WEEKS 6-11
Normal & Cold

WEEK 12
Cold & Snowy

WEEK 13
Cold & Snowy

 

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