WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Bundle up for a cold winter! 1,604 worms can't be wrong!

Posted October 20, 2009 5:15 p.m. EDT

Step aside, Greg Fishel.  There's a new wintertime prognosticator in town.

A woolly worm named Wilbur won the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk last weekend.  He belongs to 9-year-old Noah Jens of Chapel Hill.  By virtue of his winning a series of races against 1,603 other woolly worms, he is the official forecaster for the winter.

Now, how does Wilbur the winning woolly worm forecast winter weather?  Simple.  His stripes tell the story.  Woolly worms have 13 stripes.  Lore says that each stripe represents the kind of weather we'll have for one of the 13 weeks of the winter.  The darker the band, the colder the weather is supposed to be.

According to the Woolly Worm Festival website, Wilbur's stripes suggest we're in for a cold and sometimes snowy winter, with two weeks featuring snow, six more with flurries, and two weeks featuring "below average cold".  Check out the official website for the details on when we can expect our snow, according to Wilbur.

For what it's worth, the official winter season forecast from the National Weather Service suggests our winter will feature nearly normal temperatures and above normal precipitation on average.