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Thunder in winter – snow on the way?

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
OK, ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars ó we’re going to have snow by March 6.
Says who?
Says all those old wives out there, that’s who.
According to one of those old wives’ tales that’s been circulating since who knows when, a clap of thunder in winter translates to a snow within nine days.
It thundered plenty long and plenty hard over goodly portions of Rowan County Tuesday morning. Those who believe those long-circulated folklore tales would thus believe it’s going to snow by next Thursday.
Don’t count Darrell Blackwelder, an agricultural agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, among those preparing for a snowstorm in the near future.
“Sometimes they come out right and sometimes they don’t,” Blackwelder said of those who believe old wives’ tales pertaining to the weather and more.
On those occasions when those tales are accurate, old-timers nod their heads and say, “I told you so.”
On the many more occasions when they’re wrong, well … everyone seems to forget that the preceding event (the thunder that wasn’t followed by snow, for instance) ever transpired.
“Where they get their information from, I have no idea,” Blackwelder said.
He said he gets calls occasionally from people who say they’ve planted by the zodiac signs that are based on the moon and stars.
“Is this good?” those callers will ask Blackwelder.
“I have no idea,” he said he replies.
Blackwelder said the information he releases to the public must be research-based. The last frost of spring, he noted, typically falls toward the middle of April.
Plant most crops before that and you’re asking for trouble.
Blackwelder would be out of a job in a hurry if he began giving advice based on thunder, the thickness of the hair on a pony’s back or the stripes on a woolly worm ó other old wives’ tales used to predict a winter’s harshness.
But then again, he can’t say for certain that we won’t have a snow by next Thursday. And if it happens, it’ll only confirm to many that the thunder that rumbled Tuesday over Rowan County was significant.
“Stranger things have happened,” Blackwelder said.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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