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Something that many may not know is that Linworth once had the Wooly Worm as a mascot.  In 1977, several students pondered the possibility that Wooly Worms could actually predict the weather.  What began as simple wonder, became obsession when, at the annual Homecoming parade at Worthington High School, the AP entered a Wooly Worm float.  The theme that year was "Cardinal Brew".  The AP Wooly Worm float had no cardinal on board, had no brew other than the martini in his hand. The sign on the side of the float read "The Linworth Wooly Worm says: Kick the Cougars".  There were several Linworth students inside the float with one leg extended out the side, kicking to a well-choreographed routine.  The AP won the float competition!
 
The following year, the Wooly Worm metamorphasized into a giant moth and became "The Moth that Ate Westerville South".  We won again! 
 
In honor of the Wooly Worm and it's weather forcasting abilities, I provide the following information from woolyworm.com for your enjoyment:

The Science of Prediction

Just how good are woolly worms at predicting weather? Woolly worms have 13 bands, each, potentially, of a different color. These correspond to the 13 weeks of winter, from December to March.

The darker a band, the colder and snowier the weather. It is as simple as that
!

So here is a complete retrospective on the worms and how they did. Weather figures are those reported at the mile high U.S. Weather Service Reporting Station on Grandfather Mountain (Banner Elk, NC).  Note that the forecasts cover the season that follows, so that "1978" covers the winter of 1978-79. Accuracy is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning way off, and 5 close to perfect.

1978 - Brown Sugar

Prediction: Only a very brief description of the prediction survives, simply. "A mild winter."

What happened: The average mean temperature for winter was 33.1 degrees, slightly above normal (which is 32.4). There was, however, 65.5 inches of snow, 9.3 inches above average.

Accuracy - 3

1979 - Wilson the Woolly Worm

Prediction: Severe cold early in the winter, then a long mild spell in February, followed by a brief cold snap in March.

What happened: December was above average in temperature, and slightly warmer in January - and February had colder than normal temperatures! (the mean was 33.9 degrees versus the average of 37.8). March, however, was colder than normal.

Accuracy - 2

1980 Feets

Prediction: Bad weather at the start and end of winter with mild conditions in late January and early February.

What happened: December had fairly mild temperatures, but there was 5.5 inches of snow. March was colder than normal, with 33.5 inches of snow. The prediction for milder weather in January and February proved true with below normal snowfall.

Accuracy 5

1981 Fido

Prediction: Early, cold winter with a mild spell in February.

What happened: On target. The snow started in November (with eight inches), then a record 29.5 inches of snow fell in December. That was about what fell the rest of the winter. February temperatures were 4.4 degrees above normal.

Accuracy 5

1982 - Name unavailable

Prediction: An extremely cold winter with a Warm spell at the end of February or beginning of March.

What happened: It was cold, but not all that cold - no new low records were set. It was very snowy, however, with 100 inches of the white stuff falling.

Accuracy 2

1983 Blinky

Prediction: Cold and snowy during the first four weeks of winter. Warm conditions in February with more snow but less severe conditions. The winter will end with a bad snowstorm.

What happened: The first four weeks of winter were not much for snow but cold - and how! Record cold was reported on Dec. 24 through 26 and 30 and 31, with bitter cold the rest of the end of December. February was above average in temperature, with almost all the snow (23 inches) of the winter. There were substantial snows in March.

Accuracy 5

1984 Jenny

Prediction: Snow at the start of winter, followed by more snow around New Year's Day. Cold and snowy but not severe weather in January and February. Cold spell in March.

What happened: 34.5 of the winter's 44 inches fell in January and February. There was some snow near the start, though Christmas was warm. There was a short but incredibly cold period in January as the mercury fell to an all-time record low of -32 on Jan. 21. February and March were warmer than average.

Accuracy 4

1985 Flash

Prediction: Cold, snowy winter. A mild spell starting in February and continuing to mid-March, followed by a rough cold snap at the end of the season.

What happened: There was 49.5 inches of snow. February and March were milder, and there was a cold snap at the end of season: a record of 8 degrees was set on March 22.

Accuracy - 4.5

1986 Ghost

Prediction: Cold and snowy weather, particularly during the first month and the last three weeks of the season.

What happened: The snow was there, with 85.5 inches falling. That included a blizzard in the first days of April. Heavy snow in early January.

Accuracy 5

1987 - Pretty Cougar

Prediction: Colder than normal temperatures during the first five weeks of winter. A short lull, followed by two major snow storms.

What happened: January was colder than normal, while February was warmer. There were, several late snowstorms.

Accuracy 5

1988 Speedy

Prediction: Colder than normal temperatures during the first five weeks of winter followed by six weeks of mild weather and two weeks of unusually cold weather.

What happened: Average December temperatures were followed by a warm January, February and March. The snow came later, starting in February.

Accuracy 3

1989 Hugo

Prediction: The first week of winter will be colder than normal, followed by a week of normal conditions. The next three weeks will be colder, followed by six weeks of normal conditions.

What happened: There was only 33 inches of snow, at least since 1975-76. Temperatures for the season were at or above normal. Accuracy - 5

1990 - Willie

Prediction: Below average temperatures and snowy conditions for the first four weeks of winter. Normal winter weather for four weeks, followed by a week of above average temperatures: The final four weeks will be cold and snowy.

What happened: A generally mild winter, with most of the snow coming late.

Accuracy - 3.5

1991 - The Dukester

Prediction: Five weeks of colder than normal weather, followed by five weeks of normal conditions. A week of mild weather, then two more weeks of cold conditions.

What happened: A relatively mild winter season. The snow came late, and dragged into May.

Accuracy - 3

1992 - Santa's Helper

Prediction: Four weeks of below normal temperatures, followed by three weeks of normal winter weather. Warmer temperatures in the eighth week of winter then three weeks of average conditions. The last two weeks will have the worst weather of the winter.

What happened: They call it the Blizzard of '93 - and it happened when the woolly worm predicted. Temperatures were colder in December than normal, then warmed up in January. February temperatures were just below average.

Accuracy - 5

1993 - Go-Joe

Prediction: Below normal temperatures for the first four weeks, followed by normal temperatures for the next three weeks. Above normal temperatures in week eight, then back to normal conditions for three weeks. Heavy snow and cold in the last two weeks of winter.

What happened: The final "heavy" snow did not materialize: only 5.5 inches was reported in March. December, however, was colder as was January. It did warm up in February.

Accuracy - 3.5

1994 - Robo Worm

Prediction: First four weeks will be cold and snowy, then normal conditions for five weeks. Cold conditions at the end of winter.

What happened: The winter started a bit late, with slightly above average temperatures in December. The heavy snow came in February.

Accuracy - 2

1995 Casey

Prediction: Below normal cold and snow for the first five weeks. Normal conditions for five weeks, with three weeks of snow and below normal temperatures to end the season.

What happened: Another woolly winner. The heaviest snow on record was reported, with 116 inches spread over a whole, long season.

Accuracy - 5

1996 Stu

Prediction: The first four weeks of winter will have below normal cold and lots of snow. Normal conditions for six weeks, followed by two-and-a-half weeks of cold conditions and snow.

What happened: This was essentially the winter that did not happen. Snow was scarce, but some did come at the end, and winter dragged on long into spring.

Accuracy - 3

1997 - Jake

Prediction: The first four weeks will be cold and snowy, followed by six weeks of normal to mild conditions. The last three weeks will be wintry.

What happened: The worm was generally right. He was on target in the start of the season, as it was cold for almost a month, the big blizzard came and then conditions moderated. The stinger at the end, however, only materialized in part: one week was very cold, the other two seasonal.

Accuracy - 4

1998 - Staley's Comet

Prediction: The first week will be cold and snowy, with below normal temperatures during the second week. Weeks three and four will be cold and snowy, with normal to above normal temperatures for weeks five to 10. Weeks 11 to 13 to be cold and snowy.

What happened: The worm did a good job of prediction this time. The winter began cold and snowy, followed by a cold snap in the second week. A warm-up followed, however, contrary to the worm's forecast. Then the critter got back on track, calling the continued mildness and the fierce return of winter in week 10 of the season. A unique blend of black and brown stripes at the end was borne out in a series of snow and rainstorms.

Accuracy - 4.5

1999 - Skiddy

Prediction: The first five weeks will be wet and snowy, followed by five weeks of cold but milder weather. The last three weeks of winter will be snowy, with some cold spells near spring.

What happened: The first two weeks were cold to very cold with some snow, but then things warmed up for several weeks. The fifth week of winter was cold, but then the milder weather did not appear. The worst of winter was in mid-January, with very cold temperatures and snow. Week eight was cool, with a little snow. Then temperatures warmed up, and the rest of winter was mild with rain but only a little snow. Not one of the worm's better years.

Accuracy - 2

2000 - Slick

Prediction: The first week will be cold and snowy, followed by a cold but mild week, then two weeks of snowy weather. The next seven weeks will be mild, with snow and cold weather to wrap up the last two weeks of winter.

What Happened: The first week was cold with significant snowfall on four days, and the weather stayed cold throughout mid-January, with two separate snowstorms dumping a total of twelve-and-a-half inches of snow on the region. February was quite warm with the high reaching 58 and an average temperature for the month of over 48 degrees. There was one significant snowfall in late February, Slick was a little off in his end-of-winter prediction, as a major snowstorm occurred in the three days leading up to the next-to-last week. Temperatures were relatively warm, though, so Slick gets points for coming close on the snow.

Accuracy - 4

Summary - Here are the final results:

Woolly worm predictions were exactly on target eight times out of 23, or 34.8 percent.

Woolly worm predictions were close (4.0-4.9) another five times (21.7 percent).

Woolly worm predictions were right in some areas, wrong in others (3.0-3.9) six times (26.1 percent).

Woolly worm predictions were wrong more than they were right (2.0-2.9) four times (17.4 percent).

Put another way, the woolly worms were close or completely right 57 percent of the time, and more than half right 82.6 percent of the time.

That is a record of which even professional weather forecasters could be proud!
caterpillar

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