Persimmon seeds say Arkansas will get snow this winter, but the National Weather Service says it’s less likely than other years.


The Times Record on Thursday observed the fabled fruit tree’s seeds displaced a spoon on the inside – a sign folklore, almanacs and others for years have said points to a snowy winter. But National Weather Service Tulsa forecasters on Thursday said the seed contradicts their early projections of a winter with above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation in the Fort Smith region.


People in the eastern half of the United States for years have used the shapes displayed inside persimmon seeds as a tell-tale sign of what kind of winter they expect to have. They say a spoon shape, which is displayed in the Fort Smith region, stands for a shovel to dig out snow. A knife shape is a symbol of the severity of a windy, icy winter. A fork simply stands for a mild winter.


The Farmer’s Almanac in 2019 documented the seeds to have three forks, three spoons and two knives. The almanac took this to mean there would be a mild start to the winter, followed by lots of precipitation and a few ice events in the late winter.


Most of Fort Smith’s 2019-2020 winter was mild, with the exception of a severe few weeks in January including a tornado with freezing temps and snowfall several days later. Fort Smith Public Schools had one inclement weather day in the 2019-2020 school year.


"It’s largely superstition," said NWS Meteorologist Karen Hatfield. "There’s no possible prediction as far as snow goes. We could see some, or it could be a not-very-snowy winter. That climate signal really doesn’t tell us much this far out."


Hatfield said the region’s predicted above-average temps and low precipitation in the 2020-2021 winter is due to a La Nina weather pattern, which brings dry conditions from the Pacific Ocean to North America.


Although early indicators predict below-average precipitation including snow, Hatfield said Fort Smithians shouldn’t rule out the possibility.


"It doesn’t mean we can’t have one or two exciting periods in there," she said.