Can animals predict the weather?

When it comes to predicting the weather in the short term, animals are tough to beat. Often times, they can feel the changes in the weather before we can. Dr. Brian Underwood, a Research Wildlife Biologist at SUNY ESF, explains.

"You might see squirrels being extremely active in the hours prior to a pretty significant storm during this time of the year. Same is true for deer, almost all wildlife. if you watch, they have a pretty good ability of telling you tough weather is coming," Dr. Underwood says.

The Farmer's Almanac is already predicting a milder, wetter winter season for Central New York. However, it's calling for a cold, snowy winter ahead for most of the rest of the country. And it says there's a nasty snowstorm brewing for early February, one that could have a major impact on Super Bowl Sunday.

Don't believe the Farmer's Almanac? What about our furry friends? Are animal instincts more accurate?

â??Predicting a very severe storm like that on a specific date seems highly, highly improbable to me. The animals might be better at it, but you wouldn't know until you're within 12 to 24 hours of that event. The animals would be picking up on that and you could probably tell something severe was coming," says Dr. Underwood.

But even as animals adapt and change through natural selection, that may not help them in long-range forecasting of a specific event. They need to be able live through all kinds of weather throughout the year in order to survive.

Bottom line: animals can predict the weather in the short-term. However, long range forecasting is just as tough for them as it is for us.