Can this Caterpillar Predict Severity of Winter?
If the Farmer’s Almanac and a furry friend I met along the Canyon Rim Trail a few weeks ago are correct, south-central Idaho might experience more snow this winter.
You’re familiar with the Almanac, but do you know Woolly?
His full name is Woolly Bear Caterpillar and he’s been predicting winters for a long time. We’ve known about his skill since about 1948. Here’s how it’s done:
The caterpillar "has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black,” reads information from the Almanac. “The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.”
When I met Woolly on the Canyon Rim Trail during an October jaunt, its midsection was colored brown but both its front and back ends were black. I snapped a photo of the little guy, but realized later how blurry the image had turned out. Nonetheless, the stripes are clearly visible and you can see that most of the caterpillar is colored black.
Does this mean we’re going to have a heavier winter? It might not be exactly scientific, but from past predictions there seems to be something to the legend.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Snow currently is floating to the ground in Twin Falls, and according to the National Weather Service it’s the first of more snow to come over the next several days in the Magic and Wood River valleys.
Mr. Woolly Bear C. has gone into hiding for the winter. Maybe we should, too.