Weather or Not?

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Don’t shoot the messenger, but there is a chance this winter will be colder and wetter than normal. This is the first part of the current long range prediction issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for Caldwell County. However, the second part of the prediction is we have an equally likely chance that this winter will be warmer and drier than normal. This insightful prediction is based on a complicated computer model that incorporates vast amounts of data. One thing about this prediction, it will likely be correct, unless our conditions are exactly normal. However, this would be as likely as a flipped coin landing on its edge.

To dig a little deeper into this winters prognostication, I checked the Old Farmer’s Almanac. They have been predicting weather since 1792, I figure they must know a thing or two about this stuff since they have been doing it for 222 years! They are predicting a cold dry winter with above normal snowfall. They predict the coldest period will be in December and January. I don’t know what information the Old Farmer’s Almanac used to make the prediction, but they have hung their necks out a little more than NOAA has with their prediction.

Since a prudent mariner always uses more than one source of information to plot his course, I thought it best to check the “natural” climate indicators. These are weather omens that have been used for centuries to predict impending winter weather. I don’t think anyone is a stranger to the woolly bear caterpillar and its weather forecasting abilities. There is even a festival to celebrate the woolly bear’s forecasting ability. Essentially, the way the woolly bear shares its prediction is with its colored bands. The woolly bear has 13 body segments that correspond to the 13 weeks of winter. The lighter brown a segment is, the milder that week of winter will be. The darker colored a segment is, the colder and snowier the corresponding week will be. However, recent research suggests we cannot put too much stock in the wooly bears colors. For the last several years their winter predictions have been notoriously inaccurate.

I think the best way to predict the upcoming winter weather is with persimmon seeds. Pick a handful of persimmons and extract the seeds.

 Folklore says persimmon seeds can be used to predict the upcoming winter. Cutting the seed open reveals the cotyledons (developing embryo leaves). The tiny plant leaves look like a knife, a fork, or a spoon. The knife indicates cold and ice, the spoon suggests snow, and the fork predicts mild conditions. This year's prediction is ice and snow.

Folklore says persimmon seeds can be used to predict the upcoming winter. Cutting the seed open reveals the cotyledons (developing embryo leaves). The tiny plant leaves look like a knife, a fork, or a spoon. The knife indicates cold and ice, the spoon suggests snow, and the fork predicts mild conditions. This year’s prediction is ice and snow.

The fattest seeds work the best. Split the seeds in half with a knife. This reveals a tiny persimmon embryo. The biggest part of the tiny embryo is the cotyledons or seed leaves. It is the shape of these tiny leaves that are used to make the prediction. They will be shaped like a spoon, knife, or fork. The knife shape represents a cold icy winter, a spoon shape indicates there will be plenty of snow to shovel, and a fork shape indicates mild conditions.

My research shows this winter will be cold, snowy, and icy as indicated by the notable lack of any forks in this season’s persimmon crop. I have forwarded my research to NOAA so they can update their long range forecast.

Even though the prediction is for a cold snowy winter, my plan is to just take it one day at a time and enjoy each day, whatever the weather.