Woolly bear caterpillar

A woolly bear caterpillar.

(WFSB) - Nature may be one of the best forecasting tools when it comes to predicting how hard the upcoming winter will be.

At least, the Farmers' Almanac thinks so.

Friday, it released its list of "20 Signs from Nature of a Hard Winter Ahead."

Its authors said that before things like smartphones, doppler radar or the National Weather Service, our ancestors used nature to make their predictions.

In 1978, the almanac debuted a list of 20 signs from nature that it believes are still relevant today:

  1. Thicker-than-normal corn husks.
  2. Woodpeckers sharing a tree.
  3. The early arrival of the snowy owl.
  4. The early departure of geese and ducks.
  5. The early migration of the monarch butterfly.
  6. Thick hair on the nape of a cow’s neck.
  7. Heavy and numerous fogs during August.
  8. Raccoons with thick tails and bright bands.
  9. Mice chewing furiously to get into your home.
  10. The early arrival of crickets on the hearth.
  11. Spiders spinning larger-than-usual webs and entering the house in great numbers.
  12. Pigs gathering sticks.
  13. Ants marching in a line rather than meandering.
  14. Early seclusion of bees within the hive.
  15. Unusual abundance of acorns.
  16. Muskrats burrowing holes high on the river bank.
  17. “See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest.”
  18. Squirrels gathering nuts early to fortify against a hard winter.
  19. Frequent halos or rings around the sun or moon forecasts numerous snowfalls.
  20. The Size of the orange band on the woolly bear, or woolly worm, caterpillar. According to folklore, if the caterpillar’s orange band is narrow, the winter will be snowy; conversely, a wide orange band means a mild winter. All black caterpillars are not Woolly bears. And fuzzier-than-normal woolly bear caterpillars are said to mean that winter will be very cold.

The authors said they've heard from a number of readers already who reported seeing some of these.

More information on the list can be found on the Farmers' Almanac website here.

For the latest on its extended 2020 winter forecast, head here.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(2) comments


That is normal. Relax and forget about the joke almanac.


I saw a flock of Canada Goose flying in formation the other day.

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