The Northeast may have a colder than normal winter in store if one weather prediction method used by Old Farmer’s Almanac holds true. The woolly bear caterpillar (known for their transformation inside a cocoon to a full-grown moth) is composed of 13 segments; black on either end with a reddish-brown center. The hypothesis states that more black segments suggest a harsher winter. Studies show that when the average of black segments rises above 5 – this is the tipping point to a longer and colder winter.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac also predicts November 2014 through May 2015 is predicted to be colder than normal with below-normal snow falls. With the coldest periods said to be between mid-December through late December and mid-January through late-January.
Whether or not this methodology holds true I cannot say for certain. You’d surely have to examine a lot of caterpillars over a lot of years to prove whether or not they can help predict the weather, but we all know colder days are ahead. Four cords of wood are split, stacked and seasoned and my heavier-weight jacket is already hanging by the front door, directly above my Bean boots. My shovel is standing desolate in the entry way. The first snowfall will soon be making its way to the mountains and far Northern Maine.
My suggestion: Keep an armload of firewood by the stove to cut the chills of early mornings and always keep a good book on the coffee table for snowed-in afternoons. Below are few photos from a local hike this weekend and evidence of a cold winter to come.