The old folks say to watch the acorns and other wildlife predictors...here are some predictions for this year’s winter snowfall in North Carolina.
I come from a long line of good country folks. Every year around the Thanksgiving table, someone remarks on the goings-on of oak trees, hickory trees, and walnut trees. The predictions are that when these trees drop an unusual amount of acorns and nuts, that the winter will be especially snowy and cold. And this year, they fall in abundance.
But what the “old folks” have been using as a predictor for generations is now flawed. Why? Because the temperatures are unseasonably warmer over the winters here in North Carolina, making for a wetter season, not necessarily a white one.
What the Experts Say We Can Expect This Year – Winter 2021-2022
“The Farmers' Almanac calls this year's forecast the "frosty flip-flop winter" that includes weather that's "a little too frosty for some and not enough flip-flop for others."
Here in North Carolina, we're likely in for a winter that is "quite chilly" with a "mixed bag of precipitation," according to the almanac.” – Source.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
Predicts that temperatures for North Carolina are likely to be above average. About half of North Carolina should have equal chances of precipitation while the lower and eastern half of North Carolina will have less precipitation than normal this winter. – Source.
Predicts a warmer and drier winter for the south-eastern states due to La Niña.
Can the Fall of Acorns Really Predict the Winter?
There are lots of ways people have predicted harsh winters here in North Carolina, though admittedly, weather and seasons are more unpredictable now than ever.
Here are some of the fun ways people have tried to predict the upcoming winter and whether or not they’d be in for a blustery white winter season:
- Early migration patterns of birds.
- Weather proverb: Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry, Will cause snow to gather in a hurry.
- If a squirrels’ tails are especially bushy.
- A more narrow band of brown on the wooly caterpillar.
- Hawks flying high means a clear sky. When they fly low, prepare for a blow. – Source.
- Geese fly higher in fair weather than in foul. – Source.
- When seagulls fly inland some predict a storm is coming.
- “The whiteness of a goose’s breastbone indicates the kind of winter: A red or dark-spotted bone means a cold and stormy winter; few or light-colored spots mean a mild winter.” – Source.
- When hornets' nests are built especially high it is said to predict how “high the snow will lie.”
- Early arrival of crickets (indoors – as they creep in sometimes) are said to predict an early winter.
- When spiders build unusually large webs it is said the winter will be harsh.
- Lots of acorns or tree nuts are said to predict a cold and snowy winter – as if Mother Nature knows to provide food for the upcoming winter.
Whether you buy into local folklore, the tales of the older generation, or the predictions of the Almanac, many people believe there’s no real way to predict the upcoming winter weather. However, we do know the influence of La Niña and how that may affect our upcoming winter. Also, the Almanac actually bases its predictions on science.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac uses solar science (the study of sunspots and other solar activity), climatology (the study of prevailing weather patterns), and meteorology (the study of the atmosphere) to predict long-range weather patterns.
Thanks for reading today. Let us know your predictions for the 2021/2022 winter season.
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