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The woolly worm makes its annual prediction

Joseph Gambill doesn’t seem to be bothered at all with the woolly warm curled up in his hand.

It’s been 40 years since the folks of Banner Elk held their first woolly worm festival. According to local lore, the severity of the winter months is based on the 13 body segments of the wooly worm that wins the race to cross the finish line first. Each segment equals one week of winter. Black segments indicate snowy and bitter week, while lighter brown segments mean a milder weather.

According to this year’s wooly worm winner’s predictions from Banner Elk, week one through week three indicate average temperatures with snow. Weeks four through nine shows average temperatures. Week 10, although the temperatures will be average for that time of year, there will be some light snow. Week 11 also shows averages tempers, and weeks 12 and 13 will be in the normal range but with snow.

For those who follow a more traditional approach to our winter weather predictions, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says our region will see a warmer than normal winter, with above the normal amount of precipitation and below normal amounts of snow. Late December, early to mid January, early and mid February will be the coldest time periods. The snowiest time will be mid to late November, early and mid to late January and finally, the middle of March.

If the Old Farmer’s Almanac is correct, it looks like we could have snow for the Thanksgiving weekend.