Predicting Weather by the Signs: Wooly Worms, 2018

Here in the Southern mountains, the old-timers (and many young people as well) still predict the weather by “the signs,” that is, the signs found in nature.  One of those signs is the coloration of the wooly worms.

Wooly worms, also known as wooly bears, are found across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and are caterpillars of the Isabella Tiger Moth.  Their bodies are said to have 13 segments, corresponding to 13 weeks of winter, and have bands of black and brown coloration.

Some years we see wooly worms as early as the month of June. Last year I didn’t see my first one until the month of October. This year I haven’t seen any at all! And I don’t know anyone who has seen one.

Wooly worm
This is last year’s wooly worm.

Weather lore about wooly worms is found in three versions.  Some folks say that the amount of black is an indication of the severity of the coming winter.  This is the version with which I am familiar. The more black on the wooly worm, the longer, colder, and severe the winter will be.  If the wooly worm has more brown segments, the winter will be mild.

Other folks say that the wooliness of the coat predicts the weather.  The woolier the coat, the colder the winter. (I honestly wouldn’t know how to measure the wooliness of a wooly worm’s coat.)

Still other folks believe that if the wooly worm is crawling in a southerly direction, it is trying to get away from an upcoming cold winter.

Since no one seems to have seen any wooly worms this year, who knows what kind of winter we will have!

 

 

 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Susie Wilson says:

    I do worry about the wooly worms. I have not seen one in several years.. Used to see them all the time in the fall.. I saw one up in the mountains of NC on a trip about 3 years ago…

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    On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 7:31 PM Unexpected in common hours wrote:

    > unexpectedincommonhours posted: “Here in the Southern mountains, the > old-timers (and many young people as well) still predict the weather by > “the signs,” that is, the signs found in nature. One of those signs is the > coloration of the wooly worms. Wooly worms, also known as wooly bears,” >

    Like

    1. We used to see loads of them, beginning every June. Then, all of a sudden, hardly any at all, and this year, none.

      Like

  2. https://wordpress.com/post/heavencanwaitorcanit.wordpress.com/2659
    Nov 4, 2018 sighted in PA – looks 2/3 brown which I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ll take mild winter but will believe that after Winter is done! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to know you saw one, at least!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lucy Bartlett says:

    I had one wooly worm in my garage a few weeks ago. He was mostly dark with a couple of light stripes.

    Lucy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That means a cold winter! It’s good to know they haven’t disappeared entirely. Thanks, Lucy.

      Like

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