Can a woolly worm predict the upcoming winter? You know the story. Woolly worms (actually, they’re caterpillars that turn into the Isabella tiger moth) have brown and black coloring on the 13 segments of their bodies, a number that corresponds to the 13 weeks of winter. The percentage of segments that are black vs. brown—and where the colors are located—can be used to forecast the winter, says the legend. The prediction is for the entire season, mind you, not just the next 7 days (more on that in a bit).
So, if you find a woolly worm, you should be able to get an idea about how difficult the upcoming winter will be. Black segments mean harsh weather and brown means milder days. The tip is the start of the winter, followed by the brown, and the end of winter’s end. (Woolly worms have six legs and two tiny eyes; you may need to wait till it moves to determine which end is the front.)
Most of us have looked at woolly worms since we were kids to see what to expect for the upcoming winter (as in how many “snow days” we could get)! Unfortunately, we all usually forgot what the woolly worm said and, by the time the season is over, and we had no idea if it was right or not.
Woolly-worm experts—yes, there are such people—claim the fuzzy creatures are correct around 80% of the time. Contrast that to professional weather forecasters with doctoral degrees hanging on their walls who can hit 80% for a seven-day forecast, but their predictions for an entire season are said to be closer to 50%. Way to go, woolly worm!
Now, here are 10 things you may not have known about woolly worms that you can use to impress your friends:
Posted on November 13, 2021
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