Our 2022-23 Winter Outlook is in, and the weather could be crazy as we transverse the next few months across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley!

Winter Folklore

Taking A Look At Winter Folklore

Folklore is often a popular way to forecast the upcoming winter, and three of the most popular ones include the number of fogs in August, warm/cool average highs during the first week of August, and the woolly worm caterpillars color throughout fall.

According to Drake Field, we had five fogs in the month of August, one of which was a widespread fog where visibility was less than 0.25 miles. If you go off of this specific folklore, only one snowfall would be anticipated across Northwest Arkansas! We used widespread fogs in this case because Drake Field tends to get foggy more often than other parts of our coverage areas.

On the flip side, folklore #2 paints a very different picture for our winter outlook. We saw record breaking heat in the first month of August across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, with many locations observing temperatures well over 90 degrees! This caused our high temperatures to be about 5.3° above average for the first week of the month, one of the hottest we’ve ever seen across the area. If you are a snow lover, this is fantastic news, as a hot first week in August means a harsh winter may be on the horizon!

The final winter folklore has to do with the color of the woolly worm caterpillars. A thinner brown line on the insect indicates that a cold, snowy winter is right around the corner. On the flip side, a mostly brown caterpillar signifies a milder winter, while a mostly black one would indicate a harsher winter with many ups and downs! Many of the reports we have seen from viewers indicate that the caterpillars are black this year, which could mean that a harsh winter is possible based on this specific folklore!

Persimmons Seeds

The Different Types Of Persimmon Seeds And Their Meaning

One of the most popular ways to try to forecast the winter is through cutting persimmons seeds. By cutting open persimmon fruits and dissecting their seeds in early-mid fall, you can typically see patterns within the seeds. These patterns all have different meanings when it comes to projecting winter weather:

  • Knives – Generally mean that the upcoming winter is going to be quite cold, and maybe even icy.
  • Forks – A mild winter is on tap for your area, with only light snows possible here and there.
  • Spoons – Get ready for lots of shoveling! Seeing spoons is every snow lovers dream, as flakes are expected to fly throughout the winter.

Many viewers sent in their freshly cut persimmon seeds throughout the fall, with the overwhelming majority showing the spoons pattern!

Farmers’ Almanac vs Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Farmers’ Almanac and Old Farmer’s Almanac have been used for over two centuries now, and are each widely used by the general public. The main difference between the two forecasts is that the Farmers’ Almanac tends to predict the weather in more broad areas, while the Old Farmer’s Almanac strives to project the winter much more specifically. As you can see, both of these forecasts are generally the same for Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. The Farmers’ Almanac projects a “Chilly” winter, with “Normal Precipitation” expected. The Old Farmer’s Almanac believes that a “Cold, Snowy” season is in store for our area.

National Weather Service Outlook

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook is a quite a bit different from the winter folklore discussed earlier! As you can see, above normal temperatures are possible across the area for the months of December-February, with equal chances for average precipitation. This is not uncommon to see, as our current weather pattern favors La Niña, which means that there are colder than normal water temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which can lead to wild weather swings throughout the year across the middle of the United States. This also does not represent what we will see in terms of snowfall, as one big snow can completely change the outlook for an entire winter!

NWA Weather Authority Prediction

Our 2022-23 Winter Prediction

So with all of that said and done, what is our prediction for the 2022-23 winter season? As we mentioned before, the La Niña pattern usually favors wild temperature and precipitation swings throughout December-February, and we are expecting that to also take place this winter in our area. Temperatures in the end will be about average for winter across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, but big swings will keep our weather unpredictable. The AO (Artic Oscillation) will largely dictate what type of weather we will see at any given time. December is expected to be above average in terms of temperatures (with severe storm potential), with January & February generally below normal. An ice storm, which has not occurred in the area since 2009, is also possible with the pattern we are expecting. For all of you snow lovers, we are projecting two light, one moderate and one heavy snow this winter, which also means we are expecting above average snowfall this winter! Bottom line: Expect the unexpected this winter, and keep up with the latest information from your Northwest Arkansas Weather Authority team!

You can follow us on social media below, and also keep up with information from your local National Weather Service office as well! Happy winter everyone!