Sleepy Hollow Woolly Caterpillar Means We’ll Have a Mild Winter
Ever since I read (and reported on) NOAA's 2019-2020 Michigan winter weather forecast, I've been interested in just how to predict winter weather though "reading" Woolly Caterpillars. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, legend says, "The Woolly Bear caterpillar has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter".
Seventy years ago, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City decided to investigate the claim. For eight years, between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran measured the dark bands of "fur" on the caterpillars. "Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune."
After the eight year science experiment, "Dr. Curran concluded that the folklore has some merit and might be true".
This past weekend, my lovely wife and I took our dog Axel on a long walk through Sleepy Hollow State Park. I found the caterpillar pictured above. Examine it carefully.
So - mild winter? Your thoughts.