What kind of winter are we in store for?

What kind of winter are we in store for?

Let’s explore 9 common old wives' tales that try to answer that very question!

The first day of autumn is just around the corner and these next few months may provide some good indications as to what type of winter weather we can expect… at least as far as old wives' tales go! Let’s explore some of the more common legends.  

Old Wives' Tale #1: The coloring of the tiger moth caterpillar, seen during autumn months, can predict how harsh the winter will be. While black on both ends, the midsection of the caterpillar is reddish-brown. If the reddish-brown section of the caterpillar is narrow, the winter will be harsh, whereas if it is wide, the winter will be mild. While considered folklore, this method of winter weather prediction was at one time proven accurate about 80% of the time.

Old Wives' Tale #2: For every foggy morning in August, there will be a snowfall in the winter.

Old Wives' Tale #3: During the autumn months, if you notice animals, including pets, growing a thicker coat of fur or carrying more fat than normal, the winter will be colder than average.

Old Wives' Tale #4: Take a look at the acorns on the ground. If the acorn shells seem to be thicker than normal, this predicts a colder-than-average winter. Also relating to acorns, if you spot squirrels gathering as many acorns as quickly as possible, it means they’re preparing for a tough winter ahead.

Old Wives' Tale #5: If you notice that wasps, hornets and bees are building nests high in the trees, prepare for harsh winter weather with a lot of snow.

Old Wives' Tale #6: Migrating birds will leave earlier than normal if the upcoming winter is going to be severe. If the birds have not migrated by November, it means the winter weather will not be bad.

Old Wives' Tale #7: Trees will produce more (and larger) pine cones than normal in the months leading up to winter.

Old Wives' Tale #8: Corn husks and onion skins will be thick if severe winter weather is on the way.

Old Wives' Tale #9: The brighter the fall foliage, the more snow will fall and the colder the temperatures will be. The much-debated Old Farmer’s Almanac recently revealed its winter forecast. The Almanac’s prediction? • Colder-than-average temperatures in: most of the Atlantic seaboard, Ohio valley, Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and southwestern states.

  • Higher-than-normal snowfall amounts in: Northeast, Ohio valley, northern Plains and Pacific Northwest.
  • Cold & dry in: California
  • Dry winter across most of the southern U.S.

Although impossible to tell for sure how this winter will end up, it is fun to try to predict. Whether you’re going to make a prediction based on folklore or from some other source (such as the Old Farmer’s Almanac), autumn is a great time to take a close look at your surroundings and ponder what Mother Nature has in store for the coming season! Happy predicting!