Do Signs In Nature Predict Winter Prospects?

A cold snap this weekend will officially end the growing season.  A Freeze Watch is in effect for Central Ohio Saturday night and a Freeze Warning for areas west of Columbus.

Temperatures will tumble to early-winter levels this weekend, with a dash of snow tonight and Saturday morning. But many folks are already thinking ahead to the winter, wondering if this will be a repeat of last year’s frigid and snowy onslaught?

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a drier winter, meaning much less snow, and moderate temperatures (“equal chances”). Some almanacs see it otherwise.  But does nature offer any clues?

Storm Team 4’s Ben Gelber talked to Metro Parks naturalist Scott Felker and Three Creeks in southeastern Franklin County, who has studied nature for decades, and does not believe woolly bear caterpillars and squirrels gathering nuts have much to offer.  He confirmed that the behavior of animals and the width and color of banding on our fuzzy caterpillars reflects the past growing season (plus age and species), and are not an indication of the rigor of the upcoming winter season. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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