A Few “Old School” Forecasting Rules

LurkeyLoo from this blog sent these forecasting tips in..thanks!  Actually I’ve had them in my Inbox for quite awhile.  But now that the weather is going to turn REAL slow, here you go…

It will be a bad winter if:
*squirrels begin gathering nuts early (mid or late Sept)
*muskrat houses are big
*beaver lodges have more logs
*the north side of a beaver dam is more covered with sticks than the south side
*squirrels tails grow bushier
*fur or hair on animals such as horses, sheep, mules, cows, and dogs is thicker than usual
*the fur on the bottom of a rabbit’s foot is thicker
*cow hooves break off earlier
*squirrels build nests low in trees
*wild hogs gather stick, straw, and shucks to make a bed
*animals grow a short, fuzzy coat under their regular one
*crows gather together
*hoot owls call late in the fall
*screech owls sound like women crying
*juncos are feeding in the trees
*birds huddle on the ground
*birds eat up all the berries early

It will be a hard winter if:
*hornets and yellow jackets build their nests heavier and closer to the ground than usual
*worms are bending up and going into peoples’ houses and abandoned building in Oct.
*there are a lot of spiders, frost worms, and black bugs around
*miller moths hit the screen trying to get in
*crickets are in the chimney
*ant hills are high

It will be a hard winter if:
*blackberry blooms are especially heavy
*carrots grow deeper
*grapes, cockleburrs, and apples mature early
*sweet potatoes have a tougher skin
*onions grow more layers
*trees are laden with green leaves late in the fall
*the crop of holly and dogwood berries is heavy
*hickory nuts have a heavy shell
*there is a heavy crop of berries, acorns, and pinecones
*bark on trees is thicker
*tree bark is heavier on the north side
*corn shucks and silk grow thicker and the shucks grow tighter around, and further over the ends of the ears
*leaves shed before they turn
*moss grows heavy on trees
*the old-time corn ear (shank) hangs downward
*laurel leaves roll up
*pine cones open early
*the darker green the grass is during the summer, the harder the winter

*two frosts and lots of rain mean cold weather is near
*a late frost means a bad winter
*for every frost or fog in August, there will be a snowy day in winter
*at least three severe fogs in June or July mean early snow
*if it snows “crosslegged” it will be a deep one
*if the first snow stays on the ground for three days, another snow will come to top it
*if it frosts before November 23, it will be a bad winter
*a long hot summer means a long cold winter — the hotter the summer, the colder the winter

*when you build a fire outside and it pops, it will snow in three days
*if a fire tramps snow coming down the chimney (if noises come from the chimney that sound like boots in deep snow) there will be a deep snow
*if smoke from the chimney flows toward or settles on the ground, it will snow within 26 days
*if it’s cloudy and smoke rises, there’s a chance of snow

*the number of days old the moon is at the first snow tells how many snows there will be during winter

It will rain:
*within 3 days if the horns of the moon point down
*if leaves show their backs
*if cows lie down in the pasture
*if there is a ring around the moon — count the number of stars in the ring and it will rain within hat many days
*if the sun sets with clouds
*if you see a black snake in a tree, it will rain within 3 days
*if an ant covers the hole to its hill
*if smoke goes to the ground
*if earthworms come to the surface
*if birds fly low
*if it hasn’t rained in a long time and it starts raining before 7am, it’ll quit before 11am
*if it rains on “Blasting Days” (the three longest days of the year), there won’t be any “mast” (acorns, chestnuts, etc.) for animals to feed on
*if it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain every Sunday for 7 weeks
*if it begins raining on the day the moon becomes full, it will continue raining until the moon quarters
the first twelve days after Christmas indicate what each month in the next year will be like

The weather will be fair if:
*you hear a screech owl
*smoke rises
*crickets holler (the temp will rise)

136 Responses to A Few “Old School” Forecasting Rules

  1. JClack says:

    Flurries in Hillsboro out near the stadium. This dusting combined with the “intel snow” around sure beats the nothing i had at home on the eastide.

  2. ATX radar shows either a flock of starlings, or incredibly light precip in ragged band from kitsap into Snohomish county. Oooooh… Aaaaahhh…
    Flurry watch

  3. paulbeugene says:

    28-29F at EUG for 37 consecutive hours…incredible. Low clouds did break up over EUG town…temp down to 24 at my house under blue sky

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Ya that is amazing, and sort of boring. I’m up to 27.7 now here after a low of 26.2.

  4. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Looks like a few echoes showing up on the radar:


  5. alohabb says:

    This may not lead to much accumulation, but it sure looks cool with everything white! And it only took 30 mins or so and still coming down.

  6. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Two years ago today…it was 57 degrees for a high. We may very well not hit that temperature if you add both our high and low together.

  7. alohabb says:

    My street is completly white! That was unexpected

  8. alohabb says:

    Uh guys its snowing here. Sticking! Wow

  9. AlohaWeather says:

    Snowing lightly and sticking in Aloha…


  10. ErinK says:

    I am in FG and woke up to everything covered in a dusting of snow. It’s still coming down but very very light.

  11. Unknown says:

    It is starting to snow in newberg….

  12. pappoose in scappoose says:

    The Ooze Watch, needs to be upgraded to a Snizzle Watch!

    National Weather Service Portland or
    253 am PST Monday Jan 14 2013

    Some of the forecast models…especially the European model (ecmwf)…continue to indicate that a weak disturbance may bring light precipitation to the coast and Coast Range this afternoon and tonight. Light precipitation is also looking like a possibility into the lower Columbia Basin and north Willamette Valley. Model quantitative precipitation forecast is quite unimpressive and model soundings show a very shallow moisture profile with this system. With the saturated layer barely above the freezing level…it looks like precipitation will be light drizzle or freezing drizzle…if it occurs at all.

  13. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    It dipped down to 23.6 last night around 8:30, then warmed with the formation of fog. Now I don’t see fog, but some clouds for sure. Temp is 27.4, not nearly as cold as I was expecting.

  14. Garron near Washington square says:

    If a mouse is in the house and makes your girlfreind screech, does that mean the rain in Spain will fall mainly on the plane?

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      No. If your girlfriend screeches because of those meeces, the resulting lack of rain falling mainly on the plane in Spain, will guarantee a blizzard in the Land of Gravelly Planes! Hahaah!

    • chiefWright (Marquam) says:


  15. bgb41 says:

    1/13/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:51 at BROOKINGS( 79 ft) & Brookings (US 10(150 ft)
    Low: 35 at BROOKINGS(79 ft)

    High:1 at Lakeview, Lake C(4734 ft)
    Low: -26 at Lakeview, Lake C (4734 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 53 degrees
    DIMLKE (31/-22 ) (4726 ft )

  16. Hooray! Euro @240 hr beats down the ridge. Rain has to return sooner or later

  17. paulbeugene says:

    Since Eugene Airport weather records have been kept, there has NEVER been a day where the temperature differential was less than 2F…there have been 28 days since 1939 in which there was a differential of 2F…but none with 1 degree or 0.

    If temperature at midnight observation is either 28 or 29F…and ALL TIME STABLE TEMPERATURE RECORD WILL BE SET AT EUGENE AIRPORT…a 1 degree differential.

    • Yup, pretty ugly cold out there.
      I’m sitting a degree colder at this time compared to last night. But it’s fluctuating a half degree either way (27 deg.) So the pond effect seems to be safe. Not a record I’m excited about.
      My low was around 26 and high about 29 today. Nice frosty trees around here but pretty claustrophobic indeed. Yuck. But we knew that was coming. Things will change for the better, I hope.

  18. W7ENK says:

    Umm, Mark? The girl doing your weather tonight apparently thinks the 0 = “average”. She showed last night’s low temp in Lakeview of –26, and she stated “26 degrees below average”, then followed that up with the current temp in Burns of –12, saying “12 degrees below average in Burns right now”…

    Uhhhhhhhhh… whutt?? Mayhaps you need to educate your other weather staff about the way the Fahrenheit scale works… I don’t think she quite gets it. 😆

  19. *BoringOregon* says:

    Wow, cool blog mark. I have been wanting to study stuff like that. I thank that stuff about the Weather and ANIMALS might really help. The humming birds are going nuts out here, got 5 to 15 humming birds at a time trying to drink the sugar water. Even put a little warm water in it they love that !

  20. paulbeugene says:

    The temperature at Eugene airport has been 28 or 29F for 27 straight hours….it is like that ? Russian torture in which you are subject to sensory deprivation. Where’s the vodka?

  21. chiefWright (Marquam) says:

    Oh, good glory. I love it, Mark.

    BTW, I noticed a very interesting trend on weatherspark for the N. Willamette valley (Salem & Aurora, anyway):

    Historically, the 15th of January has been the day where the average high temps start to rise. The average low temps stay down for another month.

    Also, the record low temps tend to increase from the 15th to the 18th, just like what’s predicted for the next 4 days.

    Interesting how this year is fitting the trend almost perfectly.

  22. Marcus says:

    We may get flurries it’s not holding together much with the ridge and dry air in place!

    • W7ENK says:

      Yeah, that 98% humidity and freezing fog that’s forming out there right now is real dry air! Must be a dry fog, and dry ice all over my grass? o_O

    • Lower elevations are saturated. At higher altitudes the atmosphere is pretty dry. But maybe if the flow from the north keeps up long enough……nah, probably just get more clouds to help cap the fog and low clouds in. 😦

    • Marcus says:

      Wow! What I ment was low dew points evaporating the moisture!

  23. W7ENK says:

    Uhmmm… WTF are they talking about? Is there an alternate Portland, Oregon that I’m not aware of???


    I wish THIS Lake Oswego was right across the river from my Milwaukie, ’cause maybe I would have had some snow all week, too!

  24. David B. says:

    Some ice formations I found today while hiking east of Seattle:


  25. Lurkyloo says:

    Hey now! These were from an old book I have from the early ’70s. Old folks in the Appalachians were asked about their thoughts on weather forecasting. So, no phones, tv, internet, radar, etc. Some of the folks didn’t even have electricity. But they were trying to figure out, back then, how to forecast. I thought it was very interesting!! Bottom line, I didn’t make this up myself, it’s from the Foxfire Book published in 1972. 🙂 🙂 My grandparents really did believe in some of this stuff! I kinda do too …

    Hope it’ll give someone a smile or a snicker during the doldrums!

  26. KPTV Tower Temps
    As of 7 PM (1 hour lag. Updates every :15 after the hour)
    Upper Sensor(1818′) 23.2 (22.6 at 6:00 PM) 7 PM Last Night: 27.3
    Middle Sensor(1473′) 23.2 (23.9 at 6:00 PM) 7 PM Last Night: 28.0
    Lower Sensor(1043′) 25.3 (26.1 at 6:00 PM) 7 PM Last Night: 27.1
    *Much colder air mass tonight below 2500′ compared to 24 hours ago.

    04z(8 PM) Upper Air Analysis(Observed over PDX)
    925mb: -3.6c
    850mb: -5.1c
    700mb: -8.5c
    500mb: -19.0c

  27. JJ97222 says:

    Under the dome 33 degrees right now, skiing was beautiful today to warm for jackets, lots o sun looking down on top of the clouds

  28. ocpaul says:

    Mark, you missed one. “If a unicorn is listenenting to Tony Orlando and Dawn, he will knock three times on the ceiling if he wants snow”.

  29. W7ENK says:

    Sounds like it’s quite icy down the valley!

    Careful on the roads, folks!!

  30. If a A triangular conjunction formed by a new Moon, Venus and Jupiter is a prominent sight in the evening sky there will be heavy valley snow.

    If two airlines combine to form the world’s largest commercial carrier heavy snow will hit Portland.

    If Michael Phelps wins 8 gold medals Portland will see heavy snow.

  31. chris says:

    in the sun all day except for a few high clouds high 31 low 16

  32. was surprised by the small area of precip just off the Olympic Penn. Sure happy to have Langley.

  33. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    28.9 for a high, 25.0 for the current temp, which is my low for the day. Hard to believe the temp moved less than 4 degrees so far today.

    I’m curious to see how low it goes tonight.

  34. I found this interesting and worth mentioning….
    00z NWS/NPEC Pacific Surface Analysis forecast shows a 989mb low near 30 N, 135 E projected to deepen down to 939mb east off the coast of Japan. That would be a 50mb drop in 24 hours. Talk about a major bomb! Wow.

    PaulB, could this be the Kamchatka Bomb we’ve been waiting for that could result in a strong ridge pumped up near 160 W? … Wishful thinking I’m sure.

    • W7ENK says:

      I can’t help but wonder, what happens to all that energy once it rounds the top of our current Death Ridge? Could it possibly drop down over our area, especially in the ridge retrogrades at all?? Wouldn’t that be nice??? 😀

      It’ll probably get shunted into the Plains by the Rockies, giving snow to South Florida and leaving us high and dry…

  35. I hope this ridge doesn’t last long, or we will:
    1. Start trading our favorite knock-knock jokes on this blog
    2. Deviating into climopolitics
    3. Degenerating into kptv-catbox infighting!

  36. Rick Salmon-Creek says:

    High today in salmon creek was 30.8. Now down to 24.9 no fog yet.

  37. runrain says:

    Forgot to list the most reliable one: If you live in Portland, chances are very low you’ll see snow in the winter! 🙂

  38. W7ENK says:

    I had a high of 32.7 today. Blew it by that much!

    I haven’t had a sub-freezing high since February 26, 2011.

  39. W7ENK says:

    Cool! Not too many of those actually hold true, or we would have had a shiz-ton of snow and ice these last three winters.

  40. Rick Salmon-Creek says:

    Chances we will get some flurries in the metro tonight??

    • Marcus says:

      I think with that thick fog layer we will be able to squeeze out some flurries so I would say pretty good

    • Rick Salmon-Creek says:

      KOIN local 6 forecasting flurries for Monday-Tuesday. I wonder what Mark thinks about that

  41. Marcus says:

    I’m flying into pdx on my flight sim, yes I’m a plane geek as well anyway I have winds from the north @ 157knots @25,000 ft is that accurate? Can anyone confirm?

  42. Klondike says:

    An old Choctaw man years ago predicted a coming bad winter. I asked my friend what he used to forecast the winter ahead. He laughed and said that he had noticed a larger than normal number of white men traveling south in their motor homes. He said that it was as good a predictor as any.

  43. LurkinginFG says:

    Anyone remember when the squirrels were gathering nuts… or able to see a beaver dam to check for extra logs? Lol! BTW… have yet to hear a cricket all year at my house. Wonder if that means I have no weather O . O

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      You in!

      I’m gonna build a fire outside with cedar. With all the popping that’ll be going on, should be easy to get some snow in three days!

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