● By Patrick John
Q97 SnapshotNovember 2015
By Patrick John
It’s a record. I just finished raking acorns in the backyard for the fourth time this season (and by the time you read this, it will probably be a few more). We’re talking loads of acorns – it’s like walking on a lawn covered with shooter marbles. So many acorns keep falling, the dogs are now avoiding the worst areas because it will hurt their feet. Sidonie, our German Shepherd, was practically born with a tennis ball in her mouth, so when she doesn’t want to play ball, we have a problem. Even the squirrels can’t keep up, so I’ve hand-gathered acorns, raked them, tried to pay the neighbor kids to pick them up, and even used the Shop-Vac to suck them off the grass. I mentioned the acorn situation to a friend and they were quick to relay that lots of acorns equals a long, wet winter ahead. Same thing goes for pinecones. That got me thinking about all the other weather myths and “wives’ tales” many people swear by.
Let’s start with predicting rain. Did you know that if a cat is seen cleaning behind its ears, it will rain within 24 hours? Watch Kitty closely and see if this is true. Cows also reportedly sense rain on the way, and always lie down before the drops start to preserve a dry spot. Heard the saying, “When sheep gather in a huddle, tomorrow will have a puddle”? Me neither, but some sheep herders swear by it. And, “If the rooster crows upon going to bed, you’re bound to rise with a watery head.”
I consulted KRCR-TV NewsChannel 7’s Meteorologist Rob Elvington and asked what weather predictors are popular in other areas of the country. He mentioned woolly worms. Apparently woolly worms, the caterpillar stage of the tiger moth, can predict the harshness of winter. Look at a woolly worm’s middle brown sections – the shorter the series, the rougher the winter will be. I’ve never even heard of a woolly worm, but they’re so trusted, they get their own Woolly Worm Festival every October in North Carolina.
Elvington also mentioned the “Green Sky” phenomenon associated with tornadoes. I hope I never have to find out about this in person. Supposedly, the sky turns a very recognizable shade of green just before a tornado forms. I did Google it, and a lot of green sky tornado pictures popped right up. My niece lived in Oklahoma for a time…I’ll have to ask about this one.
So much weather lore, so little time. Lots of spider webs means an early winter. The higher the yellowjacket’s nest, the more rain and snow we’ll receive. The scarlet pimpernel closes up tight as a drum before rain arrives. Check on this year’s corn and onion crops, because the thicker the husks and onion skins are, the wilder the winter. Large quantities of holly berries signify a long winter: “Holly berries shining red mean a long winter, ‘tis said.”
Any weather wives’ tales from your neck of the woods? Let us know! In the meantime, let’s all hope those acorns are telling the truth, and that a wet winter is ahead. The rake is calling…