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An old friend of mine, Steve Gottschalk of Lowden, Iowa has made a name for himself by making seasonal forecasts derived from weather folklore. In other words, he pays attention to insects, birds, cats, squirrels, mice, acorns, and a multitude of other organic objects and creatures to create his outlooks.

By paying attention to the clues of nature and applying folklore handed down over generations (many going back to Native Americans and early settlers) he can usually come up with a reliable outlook. Did I mention he's been documenting his findings for more than 50 years!

Yesterday he sent me some of his observations and findings for winter 2018-19....................................

I have found 33 woolly bears so far this season which is 11 more than last year. This is my 41st year for working with them starting in 1978. The stripes and color are indicators. They are showing a colder than normal winter.

There are a lot of spiders coming indoors this year more than I have ever seen since I have been watching them and they are saying a colder winter. I have heard a lot of people complaining about them.

We have had 3 days in Lowden with a trace of snow so far this October. Since 2000 I found 5 other years that had a trace of snow before the 15th of the month. Of those 5 years 4 were followed by a colder winter and 3 of those years saw above normal snowfall. Another one of the years had normal snowfall. Thought this was pretty cool.

There are a lot of crickets to this season which would indicate above normal snowfall.

Another thing I have noticed is that the squirrels are burying a lot more acorns this year compared to other years.

Based on my 6 wettest Sept.-October's I found that 5 of them had colder winters. 3 of those 6 had above normal snowfall, 1 had normal snowfall and the other 2 had below normal snowfall.

Back in September we had 3 days straight with highs in the 50's. That's only the 4th time since 1960 we had such a streak. 2 of those 3 years had a colder winter. Those years were 1967, 1984 and 1985.

Since 2000, low sunspot numbers such as this year we had snowy winters 3 of 3 times 2008, 2009, 2010. A snowy March-April with an El Nino, (the case this year) 100% of the time.

It's fair to say that many of Steve's markers point toward a colder and snowy than normal winter. The table is set. Watch out for squirrels gathering nuts! Roll weather...TS

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