LEWISBURG — It was a winter forecast that brought a roar of approval from youngsters at the 20th annual Woolly Worm Festival.
“It’s going to be terrible,” event founder Mike Glazer said under his breath Saturday as he looked at the information provided him by the eight judges who examined four caterpillars.
He then read the winter forecast to a crowd in Hufnagle Park in downtown Lewisburg:
“The winter will come on slowly,” he said. December will not be bad but “once January and February hit its going to be severe.
“We actually are going to get some nice snow storms this year. With the snow storms I can guarantee you schools will be closed a few days this year.”
The woolly worms and AccuWeather agree this winter will be worse than last year’s. The National Weather Service has not issued its winter forecast for Pennsylvania.
AccuWeather is predicting above normal snowfall across this part of the country.
Glazer brags the woolly worms are right 108 percent of the time. Last year they predicted a mild winter, which it was, but a couple good snows they forecast did not materialize.
The role of the judges, garbed in white lab coats, is to examine with the help of magnifying glasses and measuring devices the size of the caterpillars’ black and brown rings plus the plushness of their fur.
Each judge, using calculators, come up with numbers that are combined and interpreted by Glazer.
A concern of Glazer’s is the lack of caterpillars to examine. This year only four were found and last year two, he said.
“For some reason, and I don’t know what it is, it is getting tougher and tougher to find woolly worms,” he said.
Some years there has been as many as 30 to judge, he said. “We’ll see what happens next year,” he said.
The judging is part of a daylong festival sponsored by the Buffalo Valley Kiwanis Club AM.