Winter Weather Predictions

That All-Important Winter Forecast!

Winter weather predictions are always a topic for conversation in Minnesota. In recent winters we have had record snowfalls and always wonder what the next winter will bring. Our most common winter greeting is "cold enough for ya?"

Winter Weather Predictions

More than just a topic of casual conversation, winter weather affects daily decisions. Morning news shows regularly include the admonition to "bundle up the kids before you send them to the bus stop." Based on snowfall on any given morning, we calculate how long it will take to get to work.

For many people, their income depends on winter weather...and snowfall. Ski resorts, snowmobile dealers and people who plow snow for a living all are interested in winter weather predictions.

You will also want to know what is predicted when you are planning your winter Minnesota vacation.

Minnesota farmers and outdoors enthusiasts in northern Minnesota where we grew up relied on The Old Farmer's Almanac's winter weather forcasts. This well-known periodical is a combination of folk lore and scientific formula. The Almanac is the oldest published periodical in the U.S. They claim an accuracy rating near 80%. This wonderful publication is a fun read and great gift.

Minnesotans have a long list of winter sports to choose from and eagerly await winter weather predictions. Many winter activities depend on snow. With that first winter forecast of impending snow, we dig out the skis, snowboards, snowshoes, and ice skates.

Snowmobilers check out their machines and get them ready to ride.

Minnesota Ski Resorts, that have been making their own snow for an early start to the season, rejoice that the "real stuff" is on the way. The kids, of course, are all hoping for that first "snow day" that will close the schools and send them out to sled and ice skate.

Those who operate Minesota resorts and lodges or Minnesota ski resorts, who provide dogsledding tours, sleigh rides, and so much more, all depend on a "typical" Minnesota winter to be able to realize a profit. You will want to know the winter forcast when planning your winter Minnesota vacation.

Merchants stock up on winter sports equipment, snow blowers, snow shovels and other winter merchandise. If we don't get snow, they lose their investment.

Folk tales and observations of animals are often used to make winter weather predictions. In northern Minnesota some people predict how harsh the winter will be by how high the beavers build their lodges.

Some people believe that winter weather predictions may be made by observing the width of the color bands on "woolly worms" or "woolly caterpillars." The story is that Native Americans showed pioneers how to read the bands to predict winter weather.

The way to "read a caterpillar" is: the smaller the brownish-red bands are the harsher the winter will be. The black stripes indicate snowy and cold weather while the brownish-red bands indicate periods of milder weather. A black band followed by a wide brownish red band and another black band indicates that winter will start off cold but will be mostly mild before ending cold.

But what about the forecasting accuracy of woolly worms? It is claimed that over the last 30 years, 85% of the time they have been either all or mostly right!

The woolly worm takes center stage on predictions for what kind of winter we will have however other creatures are also given the power of weather prediction. Here are some common sayings:

  • "When the gnats swarm, rain and warmer weather are believed to be coming".
  • Zuni Indian Sayings: "When the white butterfly comes, comes also the summer." "When the white butterfly flies from the southwest, expect rain."
  • In western Pennsylvania, when the chrysalides are found suspended from the underside of rails and heavy branches, as if to seek a covering from rain, then extremely wet weather is predicted; if they are found on slender branches, then a spell of fair weather is predicted.
  • Any butterfly flying in one's face is a sign of immediate cold weather to some; others specify that a yellow butterfly flying in one's face indicates sufficient frost within ten days to turn the leaves the color of the butterfly.
  • "Seeing caterpillars late in the fall predicts a mild winter."
  • "When bees to distance wing their flight,
    Days are warm and skies are bright.
    But when the flight ends near their home,
    Stormy weather is sure to come."
  • "Wasps building nests in exposed places indicate a dry season."
  • American saying: "When hornets build nests near the ground a harsh winter is expected."
  • "Stepping on an ant brings rain."
  • "When spider web in air do fly, the spell will soon be very dry."
  • "When tarantulas crawl by day, rain will surely come."


Many of us are fascinated by weather and how it affects our lives. Here in Minnesota we have lots of variations seasonally in weather and weather patterns.

One thing is certain about Minnesota winter weather predictions: if you don't like the weather today be patient; it will be different tomorrow.

Related Pages:

First Day of Winter

Winter Blizzards

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Minnesota Winter Activities

List of Winter Sports

Minnesota Festivals: Winter

Winter Poems

Christmas in Minnesota

Back to Minnesota Winter

Back to Minnesota Weather


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