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What kind of weather are we in for this winter?

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:37:25 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 05 2013 07:12:32 PM CDT

With AccuWeather predicting near-record lows, does it mean a brutal winter ahead?

With AccuWeather predicting near-record lows, does it mean a brutal winter ahead? 

"Old wives tales" say nature could just tell the tale, but is there any truth to them?

Thursday was an all-around perfect fall day.

"This is great," said Katie Baab, of New Hope, Bucks Co. "I could deal with this for a few more weeks."

But chilly nights are on the way.

"Oh boy," said Jacqueline Stahl, of Kreidersville, Northampton Co. "Then all my pots will get frozen."

So, is it a sign of things to come?

"It's really not going to be able to narrow that down until we get closer to probably Thanksgiving," said Bobby Martrich, with the Eastern Pennsylvania Weather Authority.

But plenty of legends claim to predict a brutal winter. The most common involves the wooly caterpillar.

"If the dark part of it -- the black part of the caterpillar -- is long, the it's going to be a long, cold winter," said Millie Miller, of Emmaus, Lehigh Co.

Stahl believes it.

"My daughter-in-law watches the caterpillar, and it usually is what it says," she said.

Other supposed signs of a long winter ahead: squirrels frantically gathering nuts, more spiders around -- and bigger webs, geese migrating earlier, thicker husks on corn, and autumn leaves falling onto the ground earlier than normal.

"It really is more folklore than anything else," said Martirch.

Still, Karina Nunez, of Bethlehem, said she thinks we're in for a rough ride, given the wet summer we've had.

"The weather, with the rain and everything the past few days, just crazy," she said.

Martrich said early models tend to agree.

"It looks like it's going to be colder and snowier than last year," he said. "However, it did look like that at this time last year, as well."

Last winter turned out to be mild and dry.

By the way, the Old Farmers' Almanac predicts a cold, snowy winter this year.