Southern Folklore And Predicting The Winter Weather

November is here and our beautiful fall weather will soon turn to winter. Fortunately here in the south we don’t usually experience harsh winters or a lot of snow. And I have often heard if you live in East Tennessee and you don’t like the weather just hang around for a few minutes and it will change. But you may not know that there are subtle signs that can help you predict just what the winter might hold.

When I was a little girl, usually starting in late summer or early fall, I would hear mama and daddy talking about the upcoming winter. My mama would say “ I think it’s going to be a rough winter just look at those woolly worms.” My daddy would talk about how the geese seemed to be flying south earlier than usual. That meant an early and cold snowy winter was coming.

I still cling to this southern lore, Appalachian way of predicting the weather or whatever you want to call it. My husband makes fun of me and calls it ridiculous but he secretly knows I’m right. Ha!! Just like the various winters we experience before summer actually makes her hot, humid appearance, the weather can be a little fickle. If you missed the post about the various winters check it out here.

Here are a few of the things I have heard throughout my life about foretelling winter weather:

You can tell how harsh the winter will be by looking at the color of a wooly worm. The more black on the worm the colder the winter will be. If it has a broad stripe across the middle or more of an orange color the winter will be mild. Just look at this wooly worm we found at work last week. the brownish orange stripes are so tiny you can barely see them. I would say that means a really cold winter but we will see.

And then look at these guys with all the orange and brown. I haven’t seen any like this so far this year. I think they would indicate a mild winter.

Photo credit pics for learning.
Photo credit Dreamstine

Other predictions include, the number of fogs you have in the month of August, that will be the number of snows you have during that winter.

If squirrels are very active gathering up nuts like chestnuts and walnuts it means there is going to be a longer winter. I don’t know about you but the squirrels around our property have been very busy lately.

Rings around the sun or moon mean that numerous snowfalls are likely. This was a favorite of my daddy’s. I heard him say this many times.

The number of wasps and hornets you see in September indicate a harsh winter.

Larger than usual spider webs built high.

If ant hills are high in July winter will be snowy.

If berries and wild fruit are plentiful in fall bad weather is coming and the abundance of berries and wild fruit and nuts are just what the wild animals need.

Flowers that have a second bloom in the fall or hold onto their blooms late in the season forecast a colder winter.

If squirrels stash their nuts high in the trees, the snow will be deep.

Mushrooms galore, much snow in store. No mushrooms at all, no snow will fall.

Winter time is harsh but I think that birds, animals, and plants provide us with subtle clues to what winter might hold for us.

I grew up hearing these predictions and I have always found them fascinating. Some of these predictions have been passed down for generations.

What have you noticed lately that could be a prediction for the coming winter?

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!!

6 thoughts on “Southern Folklore And Predicting The Winter Weather

  1. Google “woolly bear festival cleveland”. The actual festival is in Vermilion, which is my home town. My dad still works the festival every year with one of the charities he volunteers with…
    Beyond that, following the folk traditions is always fun, but I don’t put any more store in them than I do groundhogs and the end of winter…

    Liked by 1 person

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