2012-13 Winter-Forecast Faceoff: Lickety-Split v. Ray’s Fearless Forecast – Both Predict Cold, Snowy Winter

Published Monday, October 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

 By Jesse Wood

Oct. 22, 2012. Every year, snow lovers – or haters, for that matter – in the High Country look to the “Fearless Forecast” from Ray’s Weather and the official prediction from the winning worm at the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk for a glimpse into the future.

Below are the forecasts from Ray’s Weather and Lickety Split, the fastest woolly worm at the 35th annual Woolly Worm Festival.

Ray’s Fearless Forecast 

For the 2012-13 winter season, staff at Ray’s Weather concludes that the upcoming winter will be near or slightly above historical snow averages and about one-degree colder than long-term temperature averages. As for comparing last year’s extremely mild winter to the upcoming ski season, the predictions call for double to nearly triple the snowfall in the High Country.

With a forecast that is two to five months away, Ray’s Weather advises not to take to much stock into this forecast and the confidence level with this prediction, as with all long-term forecasts, is low. (As far as forecasts for North America, the most important piece of data comes from the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific.)    

View entire Fearless Forecast at http://www.booneweather.com/Fearless+Forecast/

Below shows snow totals in a few Western N.C. locations for the past three winters:

Winter

Beech Mountain

Boone

Asheville

Hickory

09-10

134”

83”

39”

13”

10-11

136”

59”

21”

9”

11-12

49”

14”

Trace

Trace

Below are forecast snow totals for selected Western N.C. locations:

Cities/Towns

Expected Total Snow/Ice
for 2012-13

Asheville

16″

Banner Elk

50″

Beech Mountain

115″

Boone

43″

Hickory

8″

The Jeffersons

30″

Lenoir

9″

Morganton

10”

Mount Airy

13”

Sparta

27″

Spruce Pine

27″

Sugar Mountain

100″

Waynesville

17″

Wilkesboro

12″

Lickety-Split| Photo by Jim Morton (click to enlarge)

Woolly Worm Lickety-Split Forecasts 13 Weeks of Winter  

According to Appalachian folklore, the woolly worm, a fuzzy black and brown tiger moth caterpillar   is a predictor of the weather in the winter months. The woolly worm has 13 segments  on its body that represent the 13 weeks of winter. More black segments on a woolly worm are associated with a harsher winter where as more brown colored segments forecast a milder winter.  

Organizers for the Woolly Worm Festival tout an 84 percent accuracy record in the previous 34 years of the festival. 

Over the weekend, Lickety-Split, owned by Tammy Watson of Belmont, was victorious during the 35th Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk last Saturday.

After examining Lickety-Split’s colors and stripes, forecaster Tommy Burleson proclaimed the following official weather prediction for the 2012-13 winter in the High Country.

  • Beginning on December 22, winter will open with 4 weeks of snowy, cold weather.
  • Week 5 of winter will feature light snow and cool temperatures.
  • Weeks 6 through 11 will bring normal temperatures.
  • Week 12 will be unusual, with an ice storm possible.
  • The final week of winter, week 13, will be cold and snowy.

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