Really Strange Weather Folklore and How to Predict the Weather at Home

by happynutritionist

Many say you can predict weather at home, but can you with woolly bear caterpillars, pig spleens, pine cones, shark liver oil, etc. better than modern methods?

With talk of climate change, global warming, and unusual weather events, some may wonder if there is a way that we can predict weather from home to be better prepared.

The answer is yes. Whether you use weather prediction folklore like woolly bear caterpillars, pig spleens, shark liver oil, or more modern methods is up to you, but you want to make sure that what you chose really does predict the weather.

You may be surprised to find that some of the things you don't expect to predict weather do, and others that sound like they do, don't.

On this page we'll take a look at some conventional and unconventional ways to predict weather from home, as well as some fun weather predicting folklore, some of which actually works.

by Claudia Meydrech aka happynutritionist
New on Wizzley: August 2015 - Updated 5/14/18

Can a Woolly Bear Caterpillar Predict Weather?

Fact or Folklore?

The basis for the idea that a Woolly Bear Caterpillar (rarely spelled Wooly Bear, but perhaps in error) can predict how harsh a winter will be came about in the late 1940's when a Dr. C. H. Curran collected many Woolly Bears when he was on an outing with

Woolly Bear Caterpillar
Woolly Bear Caterpillar

his wife at Bear Mountain State Park in New York. Dr. Curran worked at the Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY, among the insects as curator.

Dr. Curran shared his winter weather predictions based on the number of reddish-brown segments on the caterpillar with a reporter at the New York Herald Tribune which lead to his findings being published. He continued to try to prove this was a valid way to determine what kind of weather would take place in the winter for several years after, making the Woolly Bear one of the most popular caterpillars in the United States.

Many disagree because of the number of caterpillars used in the study. Others who have studied this believe that perhaps the coloring is affected more by the previous winter than the one to come.

Generally, determining winter weather through the colors on a Woolly Bear Caterpillar is considered folklore more than fact..but I'm not sure I'm about you?

How do you predict a harsh or mild winter with a Wooly or Woolly Bear Caterpillar? The larger the orange section is on the caterpillar, the harsher the winter will be.

Poll: Do you agree that Woolly Bear Caterpillar Weather Predicting is Folklore?

Yes or No?
  Display results
If you aren't sure, that makes two of us

February 5th National Weatherperson's Day

This is a day observed in the USA to honor those who commit their lives to predicting the weather. So, if this is February 5th, Happy National Weatherperson's Day, and thank you for taking the time to keep us safe with your accurate as possible weather predictions!

Can you predict the weather with a Pig Spleen?

Let us know what you think, then check the link that follows to see if you're right
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Does a bushy tail on a fat Squirrel mean we'll have a cold Winter?

Fact or Folklore?

When Squirrels eat a LOT during the summer and look fat with big fluffy tails in the fall, it seems to make sense that the winter ahead will be a cold one. But is this a sure way to predict a cold winter, or just a case of an over-indulgent squirrel?

I am afraid that the scientific community would think the idea that you can predict a harsh, cold winter through the size of a squirrel's tail or how many acorns they consume is mostly folklore. But it is interesting to see what a wonderful umbrella the tail of a squirrel makes on a snowy or rainy day as they sit at my bird feeder with their tails covering their back and head. I think I'd like some extra padding and a fluffy tail to protect me from snow and rain like a squirrel during the cold months of winter if I had to live outdoors.

Can Shark Oil Predict a Hurricane or Wind Direction?

This fascinating man believes it does

While watching the weather channel one day, a man was interviewed who claimed that you can predict a hurricane and it's intensity with Shark Liver Oil. I thought it was fascinating and discovered the following video while searching online of another man, a native of Bermuda, sharing the tradition of using shark oil to predict storms, hurricanes, wind direction and more. He trusts this method more than modern technology. Listen to him speak, it's worth the 5 minutes, and look at his shark liver oil barometer in the background.

This might Predict Weather better than a Fat Squirrel, Pig Spleen or Woolly Bear Caterpillar

My late husband and I have looked into a few weather stations thinking it would be fun to see how reliable they are at predicting weather. We also liked the idea of being able to set it up so that others can see what the weather is like in our area by syncing with sites like Weather Underground. We were are seriously looking into buying a weather station like this one, and I still may.

Can a Pine Cone Predict the Weather? How to Make a Pine Cone Weather Station

A natural weather predictor that works

The pine cone can be used to predict certain weather conditions!

When all the seed sections that make up the pine cone, which are usually tightly closed, open or spread apart, it means the cone is drying and that humidity is low.

When the cone begins to close again, it means the humidity is increasing, and there is a chance of rain...or in the winter, snow.

The video below will tell you how to make a pine cone weather station.

Here is how to make a pine cone weather station

All About the Weather Nature Coloring Book

For the Young and Young at Heart
All About the Weather (Dover Nature Coloring Book)
$4.99  $4.5

Predict the Weather by Reading Clouds

This guy thinks it's possible, what about you?

Weather is Predicted by Red Skies According to a Poem

But the Bible predicted weather with red skies before the poem

There are a couple of verses that I came across when reading my Bible that show that red skies predict weather for us. Those would be in Matthew...the Pharisees and Sadducees were challenging Jesus in this passage, and wanted Him to show them a sign, because they had heard of the miracles He had done. Jesus said in Matthew 16:2-3 "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?"

Punxsutawney Phil, the most Famous Groundhog Predicts the Start of Spring

How accurate are his predictions?

By February, unless you love winter weather, you're starting to dream of Spring weather. In February, that famous Groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with the help of some human friends, predicts when Spring will start. How accurate is this famous Ground Hog? I'll let you guess and give you the answer within the poll below.

Here is how Groundhog predicting works:

Groundhog sees shadow = a longer Winter
Groundhog doesn't see shadow = an early Spring

There are other Groundhogs that predict Spring, but Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous.

I would think that you'd need Groundhogs in many different locations to get a fair prediction of Spring, if the Groundhog has the power to do so, but one way or another, it's a fun tradition that has lasted for over 125 years.

What percent of the time has Punxsutawney Phil accurately predicted the start of Spring?

He has been predicting the start of Spring since 1887 - Answer shows after you vote
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The correct answer is 39% according to Wikipedia - Thanks for taking our poll

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Weather lore as shown in sayings about animals and the weather. A look at half a dozen sayings about bees, cats, ladybugs, gulls, and more

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Updated: 05/14/2018, happynutritionist
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Guestbook: Say hello or share some folklore I may have missed

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happynutritionist on 09/05/2015

Thank you @Veronica. I agree, I am looking out my window on a beautiful sunny day, sitting at my desk that looks right out and gives me the feeling of being under trees. I love it.

Veronica on 09/01/2015

That is a really beautiful thing to say about Creation.

Mankind thinks it is very sophisticated but there is so much around us that we close our eyes to. We should take the time to look at what God has given us and understand it.

happynutritionist on 09/01/2015

@Veronica those are very good weather indicators that you have mentioned! I do believe both are true and yes, God has given us His creation to speak to us, some of it as says so in the Bible, I mention it because I was just reading a verse that said so today.

happynutritionist on 09/01/2015

@dustytoes around here taking a walk in the late summer it is hard not to find at least one woolly bear :-) If nothing else, they are quite pretty. And wow, the acorns really are falling. After two snowy cold winters that were experienced them too I'm sure...I am not sure I'm ready for another...but we take what we get, right?

happynutritionist on 09/01/2015

@blackspanielgallery That is interesting, I never thought of the smell being from anything other than ozone. I don't have a good sense of smell anymore, unfortunately, and miss the smell of rain.

Veronica on 08/30/2015

Certain things yes I do believe it. Pine cones for sure, whether cows are standing up or sitting down in a field for sure. Red skies at night or morning yes I do believe in.

Nature has ways that we mortals don't understand . And why should we ?

dustytoes on 08/30/2015

Very interesting weather prediction page. I am going out hunting for those Woolly Bears later today...I've never heard of using them to predict a bad winter. But, I've heard that when oak trees drop a ton of acorns - more than usual - the winter will be bad. Last year that is exactly what happened where I live. I have a big oak in my front yard, so I am carefully counting the dropped acorns this fall! (Just kidding, but I'm watching for signs and hoping for a good winter.)

blackspanielgallery on 08/29/2015

A as a thunderstorm approaches electric fields signal the plants to be ready to receive water, and animals sense it is time to shelter. This is possibly the source of the odor just before a thunderstorm. It is definitely not ozone as many think.

happynutritionist on 08/29/2015

@CruiseReady I think your right... I also have an eye on the pine cones on our tree outside.

CruiseReady on 08/29/2015

Very nice! Love the pine cone weather station idea. This would be a great project for kids.

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