10 Signs Our Winter Could Be Brutal, Farmer's Almanac Says
Weather lore says these clues can give you an idea about what winter has in store.
Since 1818, the Farmer's Almanac has been providing weather forecasts based on what it describes as a "secret formula" of various indicators. The experts have already predicted that we're going to have an extra snowy winter in the U.S. over the next few months—especially in comparison to last year, which was unusually warm overall. You might take that prediction with a grain of salt, since we now have much more accurate technology to rely on. But the Farmer's Almanac says there are a number of natural indicators that people have been looking to for centuries.
In fact, tuning into certain natural signs can help you figure out if we're headed for a harsh winter "with lots of cold temperatures and snow," according to the Farmer's Almanac. To assist in your search, the weather-based publication has a list of "weather lore" complied by Cleveland weather guru Dick Goddard that you can look for in your own backyard. Read on to discover 10 signs you should know.
A lot of fallen acorns
If you've started to notice an unusual amount of acorns on the ground, you may want to start prepping for the cold season right away. Tradition and lore say that "seeing an abundance of brown acorns falling means a severe winter is predicted," according to the Farmer's Almanac.
In fact, experts have already indicated that there have been an abundance of fallen acorns this autumn, the Chicago Sun-Times recently reported. They say this is the result of a "mast seeding event," which is a phenomenon that happens once every few years where oak trees produce more acorns than normal. Based on this sign, a brutal winter could be in store.
Heavy fog during August
Fog can also help you figure out what winter will be like—particularly when it comes to one specific month.
"According to weather lore, 'For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall,'" the Farmer's Almanac states.
More spiders in your home
Spiders can be a scary sight for anyone, but their presence is also a bad sign for the season coming up.
"Spiders can be predictors of winter weather," the Farmer's Almanac explains. "Spiders spinning larger than usual cobwebs and/or entering the house in great numbers may mean a rough winter ahead."
Woodpeckers sharing a tree
If you're a bird watcher, taking a closer look at woodpecker behavior can give you insight into the weather as well. The Farmer's Almanac lists "woodpeckers sharing a tree" as one of nature's signs of a harsh winter ahead.
Wondering what this means for the 2023-24 season? A pair of woodpeckers were already caught on video sharing a tree in Bainbridge Township, Ohio, this August, local Fox-affiliate WJW reported.
Squirrels gathering nuts early
Do squirrels know something we don't? When it comes to the coming winter, it turns out they might.
"One of the many traditionally cited signs of a hard winter is an unusual abundance of acorns. It's also said that squirrels will start gathering these nuts earlier than usual to fortify themselves against a hard winter," the Farmer's Almanac explains.
More mice trying to get into your home
Just like spiders, mice seem to have a keen sense of getting inside before a brutal winter. If you see them in droves, they may be bringing bad news.
Per the Farmer's Almanac, "mice chewing furiously to get into your home" is another sign of a harsh winter ahead.
An early arrival of crickets
Make sure you listen for that first chirp in your home. "Crickets are not only a symbol of good luck but they can also tell us about the winter weather ahead," the Farmer's Almanac states.
According to these experts, weather lore says that an early arrival of crickets in the home means winter is likely to start sooner than expected.
Ants marching in a line
Spiders and crickets are not the only bugs you need to pay attention to when it comes to determining what winter will bring. Ants can also be a big indicator.
If you see "ants marching in a line rather than meandering," this could signify a cold and snowy winter on the way, according to the Farmer's Almanac.
Frequent halos or rings around the sun or moon
Dreaming of a white Christmas this year? You may want to look to the sky to find out your fate. The Farmer's Almanac says that "frequent halos or rings around the sun or moon forecasts numerous snowfalls."
This could be especially true for halos around the moon, as folklore indicates that this is a "precursor of impending unsettled weather, especially during the winter months," per the Farmer's Almanac.
A smaller orange band on a woolly bear caterpillar
The woolly bear caterpillar is another pest that has "long been associated with winter weather folklore," the Farmer's Almanac notes. One way they help predict the season's conditions is via the size of this creature's orange band.
Based on the lore, if a woolly bear caterpillar's orange band is narrow, the winter ahead will be especially snowy. On the other hand, a wide orange band usually indicates a milder winter.
"And fuzzier-than-normal woolly worm caterpillars are said to mean that winter will be very cold," the Farmer's Almanac adds.
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