Weather lore says woolly worms (or woolly bears) can predict the upcoming winter.

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Haleigh W. / Canva
Haleigh W. / Canva

Woolly Worms/Bears Weather Predictions

Woolly worms (or woolly bears) are furry brown and black caterpillars that turn into tiger moths, and these little guys have a lot of pressure on them to predict the upcoming winter!  According to the National Weather Service, the woolly worm weather lore has to do with the color of the caterpillar.


The NWS says that the caterpillar has 13 segments to their body which is believed to correlate with the 13 weeks of winter according to weather lore surrounding the woolly worm.

According to folklore, the amount of black on the woolly bear in autumn varies proportionately with the severity of the coming winter in the locality where the caterpillar is found.  The longer the woolly bear's black bands, the longer, colder, snowier, and more severe the winter will be.  Similarly, the wider the middle brown band is associated with a milder upcoming winter.  The position of the longest dark bands supposedly indicates which part of winter will be coldest or hardest.  If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be severe.  If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be cold.

Southern Indiana Woolly Worm

Recently my friend Haleigh (thanks Haleigh!) spotted a woolly worm outside in Evansville, so she snapped a picture and sent it my way. So what do you think this worm means for the upcoming winter in our area?

Photo Courtesy of Haleigh Wilson
Photo Courtesy of Haleigh Wilson

Based on the woolly worm weather lore, this particular little guy is looking to me like we will have a rough start to winter (I think that's the head at the top, but I'm not a woolly worm expert so feel free to correct me).   Looks like a rough start to winter with that long black band at the top, but the middle of the body has no black bands so a mostly mild winter, with a little bit of harsh winter at the end.

Is this scientific?  Absolutely not.  Is it still fun to take a look at a woolly worm and make a very uneducated guess about the weather?  Absolutely.   I guess we will have to check back in the spring to see if this little guy's prediction was right or not!

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi


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