Annual wooly worm winter weather forecast

Published 5:45 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

Who says the dead can’t talk? To the extent that wooly worms communicate with yours truly, please rest assured that upwards of ¼ of the members of the National Association of Wooly Worm Winter Weather Watchers (NAWWWWW) who contributed to this year’s winter forecast were, in fact, corpses. More specifically, they were either drowned or crushed corpses, having met their untimely demise by crossing roads in front of automobiles or falling into rain puddles because they weren’t looking for them. Apparently, many late members of NAWWWWW never took swimming lessons.

I have no idea how October of 2017 stacks up in the Kentucky weather record books when it comes to temperature and rainfall but it sure seems to me like it’s been a very long time since we’ve seen an October as hot and wet as last month turned out to be. I know that one TV weather man made note of the fact that we had the coldest October day in over a hundred years, but I’d bet a few dollars that we had more October days with temperatures over 80 degrees, ever. And I’d also bet that we came close to a new record for total October rainfall.

NAWWWWW was already confused by the mildest/coolest summer (another record?) that any of the members had ever experienced, but October really threw the woolies through the proverbial wringer. NAWWWWW does not get excited about weather predicting until the nights become crispy cool and the sun comes out and warms the pavement up enough for its members to frolic before searching out places where they can take the winter. But October was too wet to do a lot of frolicking and the drier days were mostly cloudy.

Email newsletter signup

Normally, well before November, I can pick up baskets, buckets or boxes in our garage and there will be at least one wooly worm under nearly every one of them. It’s not unusual to find one or more inside a fishing tackle box. I have no idea how they pull that off.

But as of the second week of November I have found only two woolies in the garage and it took some searching to locate them.

I managed to track down a dozen or so NAWWWWW affiliates on Blair Branch, Blackey and near the top of Pine Mountain during a mid-October visit to Letcher County. I’ve also encountered numerous Woolies in the parking lots of big box stores, shopping centers and sidewalks in Berea, Richmond, Lancaster, Mount Vernon, London and a few other locations. Don Combs, a former mountain boy, now living in Paris, Kentucky sent me a photograph of one that called on him in Bourbon County. And, as previously mentioned, I saw more dead than alive ones here on Charlie Brown Road.

I am, however, accustomed to conferring with several hundred members of NAWWWWW before reporting out the forecast. This year’s opinion is coming from fewer than 100. With the exception of Don Combs’ buddy, there in Bourbon County, the central and eastern Kentucky contingent is insisting that if you liked last winter, you may like this one even better. Don’s pal says that it’ll snow at least once a week all winter but he is the single exception I’ve encountered to an, otherwise, very optimistic NAWWWWW. Actually, now that I think of it, a Harlan County reader reported on one wooly who was in agreement with his Bourbon County relative.

NAWWWWW says that mild will be the general theme along with wet from December through March but there will be several here today-gone tomorrow cold snaps that will approach record lows for February, March, April and May including a hard freeze in May. Look for two substantial snows in both December and January that will melt off very rapidly. Ditto for a big snow around the first of April. Look, also, for record high temperatures during all four winter months.

But poor old Wind Gap, Pennsylvania should not expect a break like the one they had last year. The roads in Wind Gap are expected to stay so slick that road kill scrapple will be the most selected item on the menu at the Wind Gap Diner.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.