Poughkeepsie’s first woolly bear; How much snow does he predict?


I saw my very first woolly bear today. According to legend, that says a lot about how much snow the Hudson Valley will see this winter.

Much has been written about the folklore surrounding the prognosis of winter weather. The almanacs swear that astrology and solar patterns have magical powers over the amount of snow certain areas of the country will receive. Others claim that aches and cramps in their old bodies are sure signs of impending snow.

While these theories are sometimes right, sometimes they are also wrong. However, for generations some Hudson Valley families have relied on something else to predict the winter they say is foolproof.

A small, fluffy insect, affectionately known as the woolly bear, appears in the Hudson Valley around this time each year. This little creature is said to have mystical powers, including the ability to predict the weather.

According to the National Weather Service, many people believe the insect can predict local weather. Wherever it is found, it is believed that the woolly bear’s coloring says a lot about the amount of snow and cold that arrives in this specific part of the country.

The amount of black on the woolly bear in autumn varies in proportion to the severity of the coming winter in the locality where the caterpillar is found. The longer the black bands of the woolly bear, the longer the winter will be, cold, snowy and harsh. Likewise, the wider the medium brown band, the milder the next winter.

If this is to be believed, the very first woolly bear that was spotted in my area of ​​Poughkeepsie predicts an average winter.

This little guy has an average amount of black and brown fur, which means we’re supposed to have an average amount of winter weather. Additionally, the back of the woolly bear appears to have less black than the front, which means that we can see a little cooler weather at the start of the season, but at the end of winter the things will become smoother.

Some meteorologists are predicting a harsh winter this year, but I’m going to go with this little guy. I guess only time will tell which one is right.

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