ARKANSAS, USA — For generations, we have looked to nature for signs and clues about how bad the incoming winter will be. It is believed that plants and animals can tell how much snow and how cold it will be several weeks in advance. They need to know how much to prepare for their survival.
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Not only are we talking about winter weather folklore, but we are seeing what the folklore is predicting specifically for Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma this year.
For perspective, Arkansas generally sees 40s and 50s in the winter with roughly a half foot of snow for the northern half of the state, and only a couple of inches farther south.
Persimmon seeds: Extra snowy
Slice a persimmon seed and you'll see a spoon, a knife, or a fork. A spoon means you will need the shovel to remove more snow. A knife means that colder air will cut like a knife. A fork means a mild winter is ahead.
This year the majority of the persimmon seeds were spoons. Some people said their trees only produced spoons. Expect more snowfall this winter.
The day of the first snowfall: 11 snowfalls
The first snowflakes of the season came to parts of northern Arkansas on Nov. 11. That means 11 snowfalls are on the way. On average we get about 10-15 days of snowflakes every year.
Fall foliage: Mild
The saying goes, "when the leaves fall early, winter will be mild. When the leaves fall late, winter will be wild." Thanks to extreme drought. Leaves started fall much earlier this year. That means winter is expected to be mild.
October 9: Cooler
They say October 9 predicts the entirety of winter. If the day was warm, winter will be cold. If the day was cold, winter will be warm. October 9th was about 5 degrees warmer than normal, so a slightly colder winter is expected.
New Moon to Christmas Day: Colder & Snowier
Did you know that the closer the new moon is to Christmas Day, the harsher winter will be? Well for 2022, the new moon is on December 23rd, just two days away from Christmas. This means winter will be severe, cold and snowy.
July vs August: Colder
If a cold August follows a hot July, winter will be hard and dry. This year, compared to normal, July was hotter than August. This means this winter will be colder (less snow) and drier than normal.
Wooly worms: Colder
The woolly worms help predict the winter across the nation. The wider the stripe of rusty orange you see, the warmer the winter will be. The more black you see, the colder and snowier it will be. This year across Arkansas, there has been a mix of rusty ones and black ones, however, the majority have been black. Expect a colder and snowier winter ahead.
Squirrell's nuts: More snow
Locals say that the higher a squirrel stores its nuts, the higher the snow will be. This year the squirrels have been seen stuffing their nuts way high up in the trees, higher than normal. Expect more snowfall this year.
2022-2023 Folklore Forecast
Some indicators are conflicted, but there is a trend for more snowfall and colder weather this winter across Arkansas. Some Arkansans have already picked up snowfall, especially in the mountains. We'll see if this trend continues.
- 5NEWS Chief Meteorologist Matt Standridge
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