Folklore Winter Forecast

Folklore Winter Forecast

Dewayne Trail shares is 21-years of experience in doing the area's winter weather forecast using folk lore.

2012-2013  Winter  Weather  Forecast

All weather lore predictors have something to tell us about what is in store for various seasons of the year; however, most people use the banded woolly worm as their primary “lore” source for information about winter weather.

Dewayne Trail's Prediction:

I've seen woolly worms crawling around for a number of weeks, well ahead of our first killing frost. Most of the ones seen have had thick hair coats, and their black bands have been wider than the rust-orange band separating the black bands.

My prediction is based on the banded woolly worm, a lore weather predictor. We will have below normal temeratures and a COLDER WINTER compared to what we experienced last year. 

Hear Dewayne Trail's 2012 Winter Forecast


How It Started

In October, 1991, Dewayne Trail started, what has become an annual broadcast, his Folklore Winter Forecast. On Thursday, October 25, 2012, he made his twenty-first local winter weather predictions that are based on folklore.  

Trail said, "Of all the predictors: thickness of corn husks, number of fogs in August, how early the first katydid was heard, the crop of berries, nuts, spiders and a plethera of other signs--the WOOLY WORM is the most accurate predictor". 

Wooly Worms Are Not All Equal

Trail stressed that not every wooly worm is equal, and that only those that grow into Isabella Tiger moths are felt to be accurate sources of winter forecasts.  

2012 Folklore Forecast

Therefore Trail's prediction, "A colder than usual winter with some snow here in Rutherford County and Middle Tennessee".

It was interesting to discover that May 16, 1991 was when Dewayne Trail started a series of weekly lawn and garden broadcasts on WGNS. This relationship with the Rutherford County Agricultural Extension Service has continued now for over 21-years. 

Winter Weather Facts:

Winter Months  -  Many people consider the date of the first killing frost in the fall to be the beginning of winter.  Officially, our 2012-2013 winter will begin December 21, 2021 and end March 19, 2013.

Killing Frost  -  The average date of the first killing frost in the fall for Rutherford County is October 22nd.  Statistically, there is only a 10% chance that it will occur after the first week in November.

Many people consider the date of the first killing frost in the fall to be the beginning of winter.  Officially, our 2012-2013 WINTER BEGINS on December 21, 2012.

Mother Nature and Weather Specialists  -  Is there a link between WEATHER SPECIALISTS and MOTHER NATURE?  Today, a large number of dedicated employees work at the National Weather Service, Regional Weather Centers, and Local News Stations; it is our good fortune to have these weather information sources because they provide us with both accurate and timely weather information.  Many years ago, before we had weather specialists or the sophisticated equipment trained forecasters use today, ordinary folks used “the signs of nature” to make weather predictions.  The thinking was “who better than Mother Nature” to show what she had in store.

Weather Lore  -  Weather lore has been handed down from one generation to another, and the lore predictions for winter weather seem as popular today as they were years ago.  Some lore predictions seem to contradict themselves, but weather patterns do differ from one area to another.  The winter weather lore predictor which seems most popular, regardless of where people live, is that dealing with the Banded Woolly Worm.  Its predictions have been surprisingly accurate throughout the years.     

Banded Woolly Worm  -  The banded woolly worm, sometimes called a woolly bear or fuzzy bear in official references, is the larval stage of an Isabella Tiger Moth.  The banded woolly worm has a black hair color on both ends of its body and a rust-orange hair color between the two black bands.  The adult stage of the banded woolly worm is a very beautiful, yellow colored moth. 


                                Banded Woolly Worm                                              Isabella Tiger Moth


Visit the websites below for colorful photos and additional information about the Banded Woolly Worm:

Banded Woolly Worm Lore  -  Weather lore suggests that winter weather will be bad if:

-          Woolly worms have heavy hair coats

-          Lots of them are seen crawling around

-          Their movement is unusually slow

-          You see them crawling before the first frost

-          Their black bands are wider than the rust-orange band separating the black bands

August Fog Lore  -  Did you count the ground fogs in August?  Weather lore suggests there will be as many snows during winter as there were fogs in August.

Persimmon Lore  -  Check the seed of a persimmon after a fall frost.  Cut into the seed from the narrow side, and look at the kernel.  See if you can recognize the shape of a spoon, fork, or knife.                                                              

               If the kernel is shaped like a:

     Spoon  -  Look for a harsh winter with heavy, wet snow

     Fork  -  Look for a mild winter with light, powdery snow

     Knife  -  Look for a cold, icy winter with cutting winds

Cold Winter Weather  -  Weather lore suggests winter weather will be colder if:

-          Animals have thicker coats of hair or fur

-          Squirrels build their nests low in trees and gather nuts early

-          Ants build their mounds high

-          Larger numbers of spiders are seen in the fall

-          A heavy crop of berries are found on holly and dogwood trees

-          Birds are seen migrating early or huddling on the ground

-          You hear lots of rolling thunder during late fall

-          Leaves are shed before their color change is complete

-          Chimney smoke flows toward the ground

-          The breastbone of a turkey cooked in the fall is purple or dark blue

-          You can count on a cold winter if the first killing frost comes early

Additional Weather Lore Predictions

-           Count the number of cricket chirps in a 14-second period and add 40; the resulting number will be within one degree of the actual air temperature.

-          Weather during the first 12 days after Christmas indicate what the weather will be like during each of the 12 months during the coming year.

-          Cows and deer stand facing west if bad weather is approaching; east when weather is good.

-          The louder the katydids sing in August, the bigger the blizzards in December.  Three months after the first katydid begins to sing, the first killing frost will come.

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