KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The first day of winter is almost one month away, but we haven’t really seen any chilly temperatures in the Kansas City area.
It’s left residents wondering: Will it ever get cold? And how much snow will we get this year?
Factors across the nation, and even the world, play into the FOX4 Weather Team’s winter forecast for Kansas City.
But there are also some signs from nature and a bit of weather folklore that might give some hints at what’s to come. Here are two of the most popular:
When it comes to winter weather, we can look at how different animals and insects, especially the famous woolly bear caterpillars (or woolly worms), are behaving.
According to folklore, woolly worms colors can tell us a lot about the upcoming season.
The more black on the fuzzy catepillar, the harsher the winter. An all black woolly worms obviously suggest a harsh, cold winter.
But if you see woolly worms that are a mix of colors — black and orange, for example — the wider the band in the middle, the milder the upcoming winter. A narrow band suggests a colder winter, according to folklore.
But is it all true? The National Weather Service said this folklore has been around since the colonial times.
The agency said this is merely a myth, and the caterpillar can’t predict what will happen in the winter. The NWS said the woolly bear’s coloring has to do with its age, species and what it has been feeding on.
Still, many people who follow weather folklore take time each year to check what the woolly worms look like in their area.
Many also check on the local trees, including persimmon trees and the seeds inside their fruit. Cut the seeds open lengthwise to see what they’re predicting.
Inside you’ll see one of three “utensils.”
If the inside of your persimmon seed looks like a knife, weather folklore indicates we’re in for a cold, harsh winter ahead.
If you get a spoon, get ready for a snowy season. Last, if you find a fork, that means it will be mild.
But again, experts say there’s no science to back up this folklore.
In the end, the best forecast comes from your local meteorologist, and FOX4 is certified as the most accurate station in the Kansas City station.
The FOX4 Weather Team will share its annual winter forecast — including snow totals — in the beginning of December.
Meanwhile, national forecasters are predicting an El Niño winter, which typically means a wetter winter for the southern third to half of the U.S. and dry and warm conditions for the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.
In Kansas City, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center shows above average temperatures for the winter and equal chances for above or below average precipitation.
While El Niño’s impacts are never a guarantee, the climate pattern tends to influence weather across the U.S. as it reaches peak strength in the winter. Depending on where you live, that could mean a decent snowfall – or barely any snow at all.