Forecasts by acorns or caterpillars won’t stop winter from arriving Dec. 21


Way before meteorology became a science, Americans had their special ways to predict winter. Shee Wai Wong has the story.

As winter approaches people are anxious to find out whether they’ll need to stock up more wood for the fireplace. Some local residents try to divine what’s ahead by looking at the acorn crop.

They often say however many – if it’s like lots of acorns falling from the tree – then again it’s gonna be a hard winter.

Keith Kaiser, is the horticulture director from Mill Creek Metro Parks.

That’s the old story, but what that really means is that in the spring or early summer when the acorns are starting to form into flowers – first it’s a flower on the plant before the seed forms – if all those flowers are pollinated, they didn’t get any frost. You’re gonna have that many more.

Kaiser says it’s hard to determine which stories are accurate.

Also sometimes the leaves on the trees – people think that they leaves fall earlier. But again, it doesn’t have to do with winter. It could be a heavy rain that knocks them all down early or windstorm.

The fuzzy forecaster – a woolly bear caterpillar – is another popular winter folk tale. The reddish-brown stripe on the middle of the caterpillar tells us that the narrower it is, the harder the winter we’ll get. Ryan Halicki, meteorologist at WKBN, has a hard time believing some of the myths.

I feel like that – because this caterpillar has a certain amount of rings on it that we are gonna have a very harsh winter – to me, that’s a little farfetched. There’re so many variables that go into anything like that.

As a forecasting professional who looks at forecast models everyday, Halicki says a myth without a scientific proof – it’s just a story.

Just that. It’s weather folklore. I mean weather is a very new science in the field of meteorology. What it is today is not what it was even just10 years ago, 20 years ago. It’s continuously evolving.

Folklore spans generations. Whether you choose to believe these stories or not, winter officially arrives Dec. 21.

From, I’m Shee Wai Wong.