Folklore Weather

Weather Signs in September

September in appalachia a poem

If there’s a thunderstorm in late September; expect a snow in late November.

Doves fleeing south before a September storm; look for a winter to be anything but warm.

When late September brings an early frost, fail to stack firewood and you’ll pay the cost.

Snakes in September a-headin’ to the den, a sure sign cold’s about to set in.

—Jim Casada ” A Smoky Mountain Boyhood – Memories, Musings, and More”

I was reminded of the weather lore in Jim’s book this week. I heard a commotion in the basement and it sounded like Katie was trying to run someone out. The someone turned out to be a small snake that was looking for a place to den up.

Just as Jim’s lore predicted, the first taste of cool fall weather arrived yesterday only a day after Katie’s little snake friend was looking for a place to go.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of Jim’s book visit this page and scroll down.

Last night’s video: The Importance of Porches in Appalachia


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  • Reply
    donna sue
    September 11, 2021 at 7:19 am

    I love all the comments on all your posts, Tipper. I learn so much from the people who read your blog and watch your you tube channel. I am very envious of each of their lives! The things they have seen, the way of life they got/get to see, and the memories that make up the stories of their lives. I enjoyed the weather lore in this post. I agree with Dennis Morgan, you can definitely smell rain just before it begins. And I enjoyed Miss Cindy’s comment on the Deer Hunter being happy for cooler weather. My family thinks I am nuts because I love cold weather. Fall is my favorite time of the year – I love the crispness in the air that the days wake up with.

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    September 10, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Law me….sounds like we are all.pretty sure a real winter is a coming….so as we say in telling you good bye this time of year in Wise County Va…… MAY YOUR UNDERWEAR BE LONG AND YOUR WOOD PILE BE LARGE!

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    September 10, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    I have always heard that if a squirrel made an extra large nest it was going to be a very cold winter. I can usually tell if it is going to rain about fifteen minutes before it actually does and that usually gives me enough time to get inside. You can usually smell rain before it starts. When you smell rain you need to be near shelter! But being in the Army taught me one thing about rain; when it rains all that happens is that you get wet and will eventually dry out.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    September 10, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Tipper I watch little creators God gave them instinct humans don’t’ have. I had a young cat brought her 4 babies to the house in the bush outside near the back porch. It looked as if we would get rain and Miss Pinks moved her kittens on the porch . old timer watched the instinct of animals about weather.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    September 10, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Love these! Does anyone remember what the woolybear is telling us when his cinnamon stripe is big and when it’s small? I always look for them in the fall. We even get them up here in Michigan which makes me feel like a little bit of home is with me.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2021 at 11:03 am

    Folklore saying:
    As winter draws near and the spider weaves its web light and airy winter is sure to be bright and cheery…..But should the spider weave its web tight winter is sure to be a fright

    • Reply
      September 14, 2021 at 8:02 pm

      The webs where hanging loose with dew this morning?

  • Reply
    September 10, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Old Folklore sign :
    As Autumn draws near and the spider weaves it’s web ‘light and airy ‘ winter is sure to be bright and cheery.
    But should the spider weave his web ‘tight’ winter is sure to be a fright..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 10, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Two things showed me yesterday afternoon that fall was almost here. The first was persimmons had been dropping on the road over at Tomlinson Loop and second was at Nolden Creek where I had to stop for a little squirrel, with a great big black walnut in its mouth, struggling to get across the road.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 10, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Each of Jim’s weather lore are new to me. But it is quite true that animal behavior presages weather changes. Maybe they are sensitive to barometric pressure. The other thing Jim’s lore shows is that there are multiple signs and each point in the same direction. And they are happening in a transitional month when we know summer is giving way to fall. I don’t think the old timers pinned all their weather predictions on a single factor but used several with each supporting the others.

    I am reminded of a story I was told about an old mountain man in a forestry work crew. The crew saw a possum one fall day carrying leaves. The mountaineer said, “Boys there’s gonna come a falling in the weather and it ain’t gonna be rain.” That night there came a big snow!

    It is off the subject of weather lore but Tipper you have caused me to remember some Appalachianisms. Do you all use “pretty” in your neck of the woods to mean ‘somewhat’ or ‘rather’ as in ‘It’s a pretty far piece over there.’ And is ‘far piece’ or ‘right smart piece’ phrases you all use?

    • Reply
      September 10, 2021 at 9:19 am

      Ron-we do use pretty that way 🙂 In fact it pretty cool outside this morning! Far piece and right smart are also common here.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2021 at 4:20 am

      Here in SW Ohio ‘pretty’ is commonly used that way. ‘Pretty far piece’ not so much now as in former generations.

      Enjoy your comments!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2021 at 9:12 am

    These cool September mornings got me to thinking about what kind of weather we will have this winter. The Old Farmer’s Almanac just released their predictions for the upcoming winter. With 80% accuracy, I will trust them and get prepared. They are saying this will be one of the longest and coldest winters in years, calling it the season of shivers. The Ohio Valley looks to be so snowy that it got special attention in the forecast. I am not looking forward to shivering.
    Poor Katie! The unwanted visitor would have caused more than a commotion if it came to my basement.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    September 10, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Oops, I fat-fingered my name on post..last name is “Byers”

    • Reply
      September 11, 2021 at 4:27 am

      Our beloved Dr. James Martin Byers delivered me & all 3 of my children. Here in SW Ohio. He must have been. Born about 1915.

      Might he have been your relative?

  • Reply
    Don Buers
    September 10, 2021 at 8:21 am

    My Grandpa C.S. Mauney used to say;” If it is raining and the sun is shining, it will rain the same time tomorrow”. He also said after seeing his first jet aircraft fly over; “saw one of those what are they? Just ‘here and gone airplanes’ go over”

  • Reply
    September 10, 2021 at 7:22 am

    I don’t know if the farmer could out predict the weather men of today by watching his hogs. Weather men and women have much better equipment now. About 35 years ago there was a hog farmer in Iowa who was beating the local weather men by watching what his hogs were doing.

    I gave up on weather predicting after using banded wooly bears (wooly worms), hornet nest high in the trees, etc. I never did get it right. Dad always told me it was a sure sign of rain when there was rain all around and it was pouring down the middle.

    • Reply
      Ron Stephens
      September 10, 2021 at 10:44 am

      AW, you made me laugh. My Dad said that to, “Good ole Indian sign, cloudy all around and pouring down in the middle.” I think part of that was about poking a little gentle fun at how many times in the past one had tried to ‘read the signs’ and the actual didn’t turn out like the prediction.

      Kinda like the college professor I knew who teamed up with a colleague to study acorn production. They used traps under selected oak trees, collected and counted acorns for 8 years. He would tell that and say, “At the end of that time, we concluded…” dramatic pause and a little smile and twinkle ” it varies. “

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 10, 2021 at 5:50 am

    Yes, there is a real nip in the air this morning! I wasn’t really ready for Fall to start moving in but it didn’t consult me on the matter. It moves as it will without consulting me. I’m sure the Deer Hunter is in a really good mood this morning. He loves the cold weather and it makes for good hunting!

  • Reply
    Donna Sue
    September 10, 2021 at 4:57 am

    Yikes! I was thinking the winter time would be a good time for me to clean out the garage. I would rather work outside in the cold than the heat. But now I will be worried about what if a snake decided to over winter in the garage?

    Donna. : )

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