Weather Folklore: Woolly Worms and Persimmon Seeds

I’ve noticed some of you have been searching our blog for weather folklore. With the transition to Autumn and the cool, wet weather we have seen, it seems to be a hot topic.

Here’s a reprint of a blog I did back in November 2007. I brought a woolly worm on the set, after losing it back in the weather center for a few minutes! We then went into a conversation on some of the more common weather folklore around this area.

So read this blog and I’ll ask yourself this…what weather folklore do you BELIEVE?….not just heard of, but actually believe. Let me hear your responses.


This morning, I talked about popular winter weather myths. Two of the more popular are woolly worms and persimmon seeds.

The typical woolly worm is colored with black bands on both ends and a brown band in the middle. The legend says the wider the brown band, the milder the winter. A narrow band is believed to be a prediction of a harsh winter.

In Banner Elk, N.C., a Woolly Worm Festival is held in October each year and, of course, a caterpillar race is part of the event. The winner of the race is inspected and the winter forecast is projected by the size of the brown band.

I received a woolly worm from a family I know in Missouri a couple of weeks ago. To my amazement, he was still alive this morning! It made for quite good tv. He (or she) had a brown band about one-third the size of the body, an indication of a mild winter ahead.

The persimmon seed folklore is believed to have generated in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas many years ago. According to legend, the formation inside a persimmon will predict the winter weather. If the formation is shaped like a fork, a mild winter is in the outlook; if it’s shaped like a knife, a bitterly-cold winter is coming; and if it’s shaped like a spoon, there will be a lot of snow.

There are many, many weather myths…but here are a few more popular ones:
– If the bull leads the cows to pasture, expect rain. If the cows precede the bull, the weather is uncertain.
– The first frost in autumn will be exactly six months after the first thunderstorm of the spring.
– If a raven crows, expect rain.
– Fish bite best before a rain.

Everyone puts different weight into these weather myths, in fact, some wouldn’t call them myths at all. While there has never been any scientific proof to support these myths, there’s no doubt mother nature and her creatures have a close tie to our changing weather.



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