Update: November 2023 brings weather weirdness, DST mood plunge, holidays, and politics as usual

Some think our long-range forecasts are derived from folklore. According to weather lore, a long, hard winter can be predicted by lots of acorns, tough apple skins, and thick corn husks, while a mild one can be predicted by lower bees nests and thin onion skins. A persimmon seed may give you clues, too! Almanac.com
  • Two competing farmers’ almanacs say this winter will be cold and snowy, but NOAA, the top U.S. weather agency, disagrees
  • Doctors believe SAD is linked to the reduced sunlight exposure and circadian rhythm disruption that are hallmarks of the winter months — that’s why you won’t find much of it in Florida
  • 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The reasons given include lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings.


For the coming winter, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts that cooler temperatures and higher snowfalls will return to the U.S. after last year’s strange warm winter. Its long-standing competitor, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, is also all-in on snow and cold across much of the U.S. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the northern U.S. will be warmer than usual. And for the southern swath of the country, the agency offers even odds of cooler, average or warmer temperatures. See (Scientific American) for complete predictions.

According to popular folklore, a persimmon can predict winter weather. How do you make a persimmon forecast? It’s easy. Just split open a seed of a locally grown fruit and look at the pattern inside. If you see a fork, winter will be mild. A shovel (or spoon shape)? It will be snowy. A knife means winter will be harsh and cut like one! Farmers Almanac, founded 1818

Split open a persimmon seed and look for the shape within. A fork means it will be a mild winter. A shovel (or spoon) means lots of snow. A knife means winter will be harsh and cut like one!

The Old Farmers Almanac, started in 1792, remembers Lore forecasting as well. “Woolly bear caterpillars—also called woolly worms—have a reputation for being able to forecast the coming winter weather. If their rusty band is wide, it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. Just how true is this weather lore? Learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm! Also, Weather is local, so you need to read your own woolly worm.


A week into Daylight Saving Time, and it still seems strange that it’s getting dark so early. Some react to this darkness with a mood plummet, though scientists state that Seasonal Affective Disorder is not directly related to Daylight Saving Time. (NPR)

According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is the sense of depression some feel during the winter months. This is mood disorder is connected with a decrease in sunlight and a change in the sleep/wake rhythms we experience during the day. Also called the Winter Blues, it’s symptoms include:

  • Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having thoughts of not wanting to live


Lastly, November brings us right and truly into the Holiday maelstrom, also a time of increased activity, for better or worse, and possible increases in stress, spending and fatigue. Family gatherings also present an ambiguous picture for many, being a time of expectations, time management, conflict and reminiscing.

McLean Hospital in Massachusetts notes that signs such as “lacking holiday spirit”, feeling overwhelmed by grief or loss, feeling alone/isolated, wanting no part in holiday activities, feeling stressed about giving gifts are all part of holiday stress and this year might be the right time to practice actions known to help– they offer options for mitigating the plummet…..

Scientific American, Mayo Clinic, McLean Hospital, Almanac.Com, NPR re:SAD