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Fun Folklore Forecasting

While the high-tech tools of weather forecasting are the now most familiar way to predict the frigid, icy or snow-packed months ahead, humans have made observations and have been predicting the weather for centuries. These rhymes and sayings are another way we’ve prepared for the coming winter. Folklore forecasting is a fun way of using your surroundings to guess the future. 

These certainly aren’t a tried and true way to predict the weather, but with the way 2020  has gone why not have a little fun:

Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

When a persimmon seed is cut open, the white marking inside reveals the following information about the coming winter:  If it’s shaped like a knife, winter’s winds will be biting and the season will be cold. If it’s shaped like a fork, expect a relatively average winter. If it looks like a spoon, expect to shovel plenty of snow.

The ground that is covered by acorns in the fall will be covered by snow throughout winter. (Mildly worrisome considering we’re going through a mast year and oaks are overproducing acorns!)

While you’re checking the ground for acorns, look for hickory nuts too. Legend has it an unusually thick shell on a hickory nut promises an unusually cold winter.

Legend has it that the woolly bear caterpillar, a tiger moth caterpillar, can foretell what weather winter will bring. Some believe the 13 segments or bands of the woolly worm represent the 13 weeks of winter. Another forecasting gauge? The more brown bands, the less severe the winter.

If you have any hedge apples nearby, check them out! If the amount of yellow-green, grapefruit-sized fruit that falls from the Osage-orange tree is abundant, winter will be harsh. The size of the hedge apple also matters. Large fruit indicates a bleak winter, while a smaller size means it will be mild.

Take a look around and see if these weather predictors work for you. Do you know of any others? Tag us with your nature-based predictions @caseytrees

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