Local farmers see hint at upcoming winter - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local farmers see hint at upcoming winter

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Before forecast models and radar we used nature for hints to upcoming winters. We spoke with local farmers in the Tennessee Valley about folklore trends they are seeing.

Jane Mauldin is the Farm Manager of Wheeler Orchard and Vineyard. She says she looks for signs of winter in the leaves of the apple trees.

 "Are they falling more, are they starting to turn..we've noticed they're not turning as quickly this year," says Mauldin.

This could be from the above average rain, but Mauldin tells Channel 3, typically when we have a colder winter, the apple trees want to become dormant quicker to protect the fruit for the next year.

Troy Teets is a market farmer, and says he's also seeing trends of a mild winter, observing the wasps.

"They start to get aggressive so they can make sure they can make more queens for the overall survival of the hive," says Teets. So far Teets says this is something he has not yet seen this season.

Farmer Gina Tant grows cold season crops like cabbage and kale. She says fire ants, like the wasps, may not be concerned about this winter. They are still above the soil line eating away at her crops. It's believed if a colder winter is expected, the ants will bury themselves.

The persimmon seed experiment has also been used for decades to forecast how cold and snowy the upcoming winter could be.

"The persimmon tree we actually find these from are from a very tall tree, and we always just find them on the ground," says Kari Moates with Hiwassee and Ocoee Park.

According to folklore, if you cut open the seed and see a spoon shape, heavy, wet snow will fall. A knife shape indicates ice cold winds, and a fork would suggest a powdery snow.

Kari Moates and daughter Willow are on their third experiment. She says in the past two years the majority of the seeds have been spoons.

The average winter in the Tennessee Valley brings 4" of snow. Last winter brought under 1/2" an inch of snow, and 2015-2016 winter brought well above normal temperatures, nearly 11 degrees above average!

To pitch a weather related story, feel free to email meteorologist Brittany Beggs. 

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